On the cover of 2008’s Lymelife it says “Violently funny,” and “Laugh out loud funny.” That with the coupling of Alec Baldwin’s presence made me think, ‘Hey, this outta be good.’ This was NOT a comedy — it was a deep drama about betrayal, family issues, loss of innocence, etc.
The moving revolves around two families in the 1970s. The Bartlett family– Mickey (Baldwin, “30 Rock”), Scott (Rory Culkin) and Brenda (Jill Hennessy, “Crossing Jordan,” “Las Vegas” — and the Bragg family — Charlie (Timothy Hutton), Melissa (Cynthia Nixon, Sex and the City) and Adrianna (Emma Roberts, Valentine’s Day). Each family has their own major problems.
Charlie Bragg has been diagnosed with Lyme disease and that’s caused himself to isolate himself. His wife Melissa is frustrated and finds solace in the form of an affair with Mickey Bartlett. Their daughter Adrianna is sort of lost in the parent’s drama and therefore can get away with anything, so she rebels with drugs and sex. The two families intersect in two ways, Melissa and Mickey’s affair and the blossoming friendship of Adrianna and Scott. Mickey, like Melissa, is a really bad role model for his child. He neglects his wife by having the affair but also throws it in her face.
The film really examines the picturesque American Dream. This is definitely not a new concept but this film does it in a way that makes the characters normal and relateable instead of pathetic. A lot of the characters by the end gain the gumption needed to stand up against the characters that have been toxic to them, i.e. Mickey. Charlie was able to find the spine needed to stand up to his wife Melissa as well as directly to Mickey.
The show also touches on the sacred committment that is marriage and how easily it’s thrown away by couples. Brenda, Mickey’s wife, was one of the characters that went from pathetic to slightly admirable. She strongly believed in the wedding vow ‘for better or worse’ and was willing to work out her problems with Mickey. Usually the parents just give up so it was nice to see them fighting for their marriage. The character of Scott, who the film is based around, is 15 and very coming-of-age. He was able to recognize his father’s behavior as negative and didn’t fall into the pattern. Scott was right on the cusp of adolescence and was very easily influenced, i.e. Adrianna getting him to steal church wine to drink in the confessional.
Director Derick Martini, who co-wrote the movie with his brother Steven, did a fantastic job in all regards, mise en scene, angles, keeping the setting accurate to 1970s time, etc. This is his first bigger known film, he’s had only small stuff. I hope to see more from him the future, he’s still young at 35. The film’s ending was very open. Charlie is in the woods and shoots his gun. But we don’t know the direction it went and what it ended up colliding with, whether it was a deer, Mickey or one of the kids.