Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Origin of the Species|
Actors: Amanda Peet, Jean Louisa Kelly
The story unfolds over a weekend in a summerhouse where six late-twenties friends have reunited for the past ten years. The retreat incites a series of life crises that force them to confront their relationship and lives l... more »
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THE MAGIC OF SUMMER
Carol Weston | U.S.A. | 03/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Origin of the Species is about a group of friends in their twenties who get together year after year at a beautiful house where they talk, eat, drink, skinny dip - - - and slowly but surely realize that they are growing up, ready or not. (Emphasis definitely on the "not" for some of the characters, but that's what makes it so fun to watch.) Amanda Peet's performance is extraordinary, Elon Gold is funny and heartwarming, Jean Louisa Kelly is completely charming, and I really loved everybody in it. It's a movie that you enjoy watching and then find yourself thinking about long afterward. Very winning."
20-, 30-, 40-something - You'll still love it
GoodDesign | USA | 09/05/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ever been at the video store and realized there's nothing you haven't seen and you're just not in the mood for an old classic? That's how I found "Origin of THE Species" (not Darwin's "Origin OF Species"). This 1998 indie film was waiting patiently in the "New Releases" (just released on DVD). With Amanda Peet's smiling face on the jacket, it was hard to pass up, despite an unconvincing synopsis on the DVD case. I'm glad I took the chance.
The dialog-driven plot is simple (and has been done before), but with twists, both half-expected and unexpected. A group of six childhood friends, now in their late twenties (3 men & 3 women, of course), make their annual pilgrimage to the country to share a weekend. All grown up now and with successful careers, they sense that their old relationships aren't as close as before. The sylvan setting of the country, a skinny-dipping pond, the nearby town and a large country house leaves many opportunities for the group to split up discreetly into smaller groups to reminisce, love, joke and argue.
Much of the film occurs in the gorgeous old vacation home owned by the unseen mother of Paul (Elon Gold - not to be confused with look-alike actor Mark Feuerstein), a self-centered but naïve Ph.D.-type fascinated with the study of evolution and primates. The perpetually smiling Gold delivers some lines over the top, but is still credible. Paul is married to childhood sweetheart Julia (Peet - wearing unattractive gold-rimmed glasses popular in the mid-90s), who is debating when or if she should tell Paul about her pregnancy.
Lawyer Stan (LaPaglia - Australian doctor turned actor) is recovering from testicular cancer, and was apparently not expected by the others to show up this year. He appears mysteriously and doesn't socialize much, leaving everyone walking on eggshells as they tiptoe around the obvious questions. Stan's character is the most likeable of the bunch.
Stan's former girlfriend, Kate (Temchen) is also one of the gang. Kate, who had dumped Stan upon learning of his illness, seems to be spending too much time with confirmed bachelor and commercial voice-over star, Fisher (Kelly - who is stuck with the least interesting character in the film), leaving unanswered questions for the others. At times, you can almost hear the tension buzzing between Kate and Stan.
Jean Louisa Kelly plays "Laura," Kate's mousy and criminally shy friend who, early on, confides in Kate that her psychic recently told her that she and Stan are destined for each other - and she plans to fulfill her destiny this weekend. This revelation leaves the jealous, if not-always-honorable, Kate pondering throughout the film whether she should be spending her time with Stan instead of Fisher. Personally, I would have expected someone a little less attractive (more plain?) to be cast as Laura, but again, it still works.
The result is a successful and enjoyable drama, despite the small budget, the relative inexperience of the cast and crew, and the occasional similarity to an episode of "Friends." At worst, it seems like a good Whit Stillman knock-off. At its best, you see each of the characters trying to survive the inevitable realization that they are about to turn 30, and their lives and relationships are not what they used to be. Evolution!
"Origin" is one of those movies with which you will be preoccupied weeks after seeing it. Relating to the characters is easy and natural. You almost wish that you could call Paul to see if his mother decided to sell the house, or to check in with Stan to see how he's feeling. Writer Robert Ackerman provides the level of character development I really enjoy. It makes me want a sequel set ten years later to see how our friends have "evolved."
The DVD has no extras. You'll have to visit the movie's web site for those. You will get fine acting, rich cinematography, and a hauntingly memorable score. Overall, it's well worth your time."
Great indie film with awesome performance by Amanda Peet!
Julie | Los Angeles, CA | 03/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a cool indie film that reminded me a lot of "The Big Chill" and "Secaucus 7." I saw it at the Avignon-New York Film Festival where the crowd really loved it so I was so excited to find it here on Amazon. Totally one that I will watch again! Amanda Peet is engaging and the rest of the cast is really strong, especially Jean Lousa Kelly (from that CBS show "Yes, Dear" and Mr. Holland's Opus). This thoughtful, well-written and beautifully shot movie really stays with you."
A cozy classic
L. Anne | 04/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is such a breath of fresh air. Finally there's a movie that's profound, amusing, and relatable. It's nice to watch something that really hits home without begin cheesy or overdone and you can never go wrong with Jean Louisa Kelly or Amanda Peet."