USA | 85 MINUTES
There is perhaps no better place to discover one’s true self than out in nature, devoid of cell phones, streaming video, and all other technological vices. For the married Bluebird (Laia Costa), hiking the Appalachian Trail sans husband offers her the chance to do just that. At first, she thinks it’s no big deal to pair up with a hiking companion, the younger Lake (Thomas Mann), who she meets on the trail. But as they get to know each other, their easygoing chemistry and unspoken mutual attraction eventually culminate with a kiss. And that’s when everything changes. What began as an innocent bond grows into an unexpected romance that forces Bluebird and Lake to straddle the fine line between their emotional unavailability and undeniable desire.
Maine uses this romantic scenario to look beyond newfound love alone. Through impressively nuanced and understated performances from Costa and Mann, writer-director Matthew Brown captures a potentially pivotal moment in two characters’ otherwise mundane lives. Brown lets the setting’s natural serenity and the characters’ raw emotions guide the story directly towards the viewer’s heart while avoiding histrionics. Maine is as immersive as it is genuine.