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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

LILTING (2014)

Small and unsatisfying, Hong Khaou’s debut feature fails to tease much of a story out of a young man’s untimely death. Lost in their separate grief, his stubbornly unassimilated immigrant mom and his male partner make an initial furtive contact but can’t break thru long held (closeted) secrets. Khaou parcels out info on his three principals (two alive, one dead) thru incremental, non-linear bites, measuring out drams of pointless misdirection and bringing in a translator for the mom who’s managed to avoid picking up a word of English. Not that verbal skills have stopped her from making a cute conquest at her senior citizens apartment complex. And while none of the action, situations or relationships seem to add up, Ben Whishaw, as the surviving lover, kills off any remaining interest with a character created entirely thru fidgets. Rubbing his face, pulling his nose, chewing his scruffy beard; he’s either highly tactile or borderline autistic.

SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: The only possible reason to stick around is for a chance to catch up with dear Peter Bowles (Guthrie Featherstone from the old RUMPOLE OF THE BAILEY series) as the mother’s blunt, horny and slightly mystified senior citizen suitor. (On the other hand, they loved it @ Sundance.)

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