USA | 96 MINUTES | English |
Alexandra Brodsky's debut feature is a portrait of the Schaffer family, which consists of an aging father, Pappy (Seymour Cassel) and his two daughters. The Schaffers still live in the house the girls grew up in and their lives, as well as their neighborhood, are insulated from the outside world. The entire family works for the limousine business they own, including youngest daughter Paulie's husband (Michael Esper). From the beginning it is evident that things cannot continue as they are. Our heroine and the family's backbone, Susannah (Jen Albano), is tired of holding things together and sick of living in a world where nothing changes. When her father's health starts to fail, and Paulie (Elisabeth Moss) goes off her lithium, Susannah wearily continues her struggle to keep her family's world from shattering. In his waning days Pappy embraces the Jewish faith and Susannah resists his sudden zealotry. But when a young Jewish man Pappy has befriended turns his attentions to Susannah, she sees an opportunity to escape her seemingly hopeless situation through a man whose beliefs she does not share. Jen Albano's performance as Susannah is so stunning that she is sure to be tagged as one of the up-and-coming actresses of her generation. Bittersweet Place also shows startling promise from Brodsky, who handles her material with sympathy and ability many seasoned pros would find hard to match. Her film leaves the viewer feeling like its perceptive title indicates-bittersweet.