Based on the true childhood experiences of director Derick Martini, Lymelife is the coming of age story of 15-year old Scott growing up in suburban Long Island. While caught up in his first love, Scott watches the relation... more »ships of his parents and their neighbors slowly crumble as they try to keep up with the changing times and expectations of the 1970s. Critically acclaimed, Lymelife features a magnificent ensemble cast, with incredible performances that make you laugh and cry along with them.« less
"I expected a funny comedy, the DVD cover art says, 'Violently Funny,' 'Laugh Out Loud Funny, entertaining and moving,' 'Wonderful,' and 'Tender.' The film inside isn't exactly any of these things. It is a coming of age film set in 1979 with the backdrop of some incredibly dysfunctional adults. No, I'm sorry; I laughed a little at the beginning, but then was just left sad after the half way point passed.
The film starts off quirky and interesting. I love film that tries new things, sets up a different style, hides things from the viewer, and uses unusual music. All there in a wonderful mix during the first 30 minutes. At first I couldn't place the setting year (later in the film I discovered it is 1979, shown in a very pointed manner), so that was a bit unsettling. Two different families are shown and their relationship is unveiled slowly and wonderfully. There are a number of jokes that are genuinely funny. At about midpoint the film starts to devolve into lies, cheating, foul language, standard melodrama editing and filming, and the characters just become less and less believable and lose my connection with them (save the two lead characters, best friends Adrianna and Scott).
Sadly as this film lost my interest, I started to notice horribly sloppy editing and continuity. Normally these things just pass by, I enjoy a film, I'm engrossed in the story, and continuity, unless grossly bad, just slips past. Not here, the story line got so bogged down that I started noticing all these problems. I noticed way too many cuts where somebody would have their hand up to their mouth and an immediate reverse cut with their hand down; cigarettes that change length immediately; or facial expressions that change too quickly during a cut.
The cast. Rory Culkin (yes he has a famous brother) as Scott was good, as a more or less clueless teenager. Emma Roberts (Nancy Drew) as Adrianna was radiant, and did a wonderful job - just snotty enough to her best friend Scott, and then just exactly nice enough. Alec Baldwin as Scott's father, was a pig, pretty much as he always plays - he was a mix of Schwetty from SNL and his 30 Rock character. Jill Hennessy (Law and Order, and Crossing Jordan) as Scott's mother was decent. She was a little bit crazy, a little bit caring mother. Cynthia Nixon Adrianna's mother (Sex and the City) was sometimes amazing, sometimes just awful - her New York accent slipped in and out a lot. Timothy Hutton as Adrianna's father was just so dirty - looked like he never washed his hair the whole time. Bottom line, its more or less an all star cast. There wasn't a lot of chemistry between these characters, except Scott and Adrianna.
The film was too long by a good 30 minutes. The first 30 minutes were excellent. The last 15 were very well done. There was 45 minutes where the film kind of lost its way.
The film is rated R. There are sensuous moments with no nudity; a fair amount of strong language; and s small amount of violence. This film might be acceptable for slightly younger viewers. The themes are somewhat mature.
The DVD includes a fairly long list of bonus features. The alternate ending is just plain awful. I've never seen a DVD where the alternate is 19 minutes, where 18 minutes was exactly the same as the original film. There is 20 seconds that is new or different. The voice over with the director and a few others is just plain annoying. Clearly the director loved the script written version that is the alternate. Frankly, this is a huge waste of time, the released ending is exactly the right ending. There are a series of deleted scenes. Again, I had a hard time seeing what is different, other than extensions of what was included in the released film.
I was disappointed by this film. There are much better coming of age films. Adventureland, Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, and Almost Famous come to mind. My expectations were maybe set too high, this is a coming of age film with a depressing back story. "
An engaging coming-of-age drama
z hayes | TX | 09/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I admit that I picked this for viewing because of Alec Baldwin. The guy may have had his shares of troubles but he is quite a charismatic actor (well, in some movies more than others). Set in Long Island, N.Y., the time period is the mid-70s, and it also has two Culkin brothers in it. Rory Culkin portrays a 15-year-old, Scott Bartlett whose parents,real estate developer Mickey (Alec Baldwin in a wolfish and arrogant role) and passive mother, Brenda (Jill Hennessy) reflect the trappings of a successful life, but are not altogether happy in their marriage. Scott is however more concerned with the girl next door, attractive Adrianna (Emma Roberts of Nancy Drew) who sort of teases him, but has other romantic inclinations. Adrianna' mom, Melissa (Cynthia Nixon)works for Mickey, and portrays a long-suffering wife who has to deal with her Lyme-disease addled husband, Tommy (Timothy Hutton). Oh, and there's Scott's brother Jimmy (Kieran Culkin), who's on leave from the army.
The drama of the two families unfolds slowly, portraying the gradual unraveling of two marriages, whilst also delving into the sexual awakening of an adolescent boy who is tormented by his attraction to Adrianna, and also concerned about his parents' marriage. Rory Culkin does a credible job of playing the angsty teen, and grows on the viewer, eliciting one's empathy for the growing pains he goes through, without being overly melodramatic or sentimental. There's a good balance between the dark and light in this drama, and the ensemble cast does a great job in maintaining this balance, especially Alec Baldwin who plays true to type here.
The story is far from fresh or original,as there have been so many other movies made about dysfunctional families, and adolescence (one of my favorites is "The Squid and the Whale") yet it strikes a chord, and this is largely due to the heartfelt performance by Rory Culkin. Another well-made coming-of-age movie is The Education of Charlie Banks."
Timothy Hutton.....where's his Oscar?
Kate Smart | Private | 10/25/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I am still shocked that some reviewer wrote "laugh out loud funny" after seeing this film. Granted, there are moments where you might smile. But more than anything, this film is sad; depicting the genuine heartache that is wrought when a family falls apart. Baldwin and Nixon - both excellent actors - are good, but not brilliant. I expected better. The acting performance of Emma Roberts is terrible - that her aunt is Julia Roberts no doubt explains her being granted this role. Timothy Hutton, however, as the lyme-diseased, depressed husband who witnesses his wife's infidelity - deserves the highest accolades. His performance in this film is flawless, portraying a man suffering from a disease that has rendered him incapable of functioning as the man he once was. I found his performance riveting and heartbreaking. Kieran Culkin is the next Sean Penn - that is a given. His underscored performance as a love-struck, confused teen was excellent. And his brother - Rory Culkin - was also excellent. Hutton and the kids stole this film. I don't want to go over the plot - but I do recommend this film. It is well-done, and well-acted....but it's not "laugh out loud funny" at all. Whenever children suffer, there is little to laugh at."
Not exactly uplifting, or even enthralling
K. Swanson | Austin, TX United States | 12/01/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
Ok, so it's a true story. The script is fair enough, direction too. The acting is uniformly decent, with Baldwin as usual stealing the show. The lead is likeable enough. So why didn't I enjoy this film?
Good question. Probably because it's just a little too realistic, meaning there's a lack of redemption, or whatever it is that makes art art and life not so art. I just found it all too bleak, in a very bland sort of way. Yes, the suburbs are full of deception and disappointment and dismay and d-everything. But that doesn't mean I want to watch them played out on screen...unless something really special and revealing occurs. And here, it doesn't.
Well done, but I'd recommend you watch American Beauty or Ordinary People or Kramer vs. Kramer or any of the many other superior suburban drams. Sadly, this one never gets there, despite good work all around.
A film with heart
Blue Sky | California | 09/25/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For lack of a better way to start out the review, I really enjoyed the film. I've been waiting for the film to come out on DVD, since I couldn't see it in the theaters. It was well worth the wait.
Lymelife centers on growing up during the 70s and focuses on members of two families struggling to face their dysfunction while making some sense of their lives and finding something positive to see them through the trials of human relationships. The cast was really stellar especially Rory Culkin with his heartfelt, perfectly awkward portrayal of a young teenage boy discovering love for the first time, learning to stand up for himself and to accept his family with all their imperfections. I expected great acting from the cast because they're so talented, but I was pleasantly surprised to find myself laughing out loud in specific moments when I least expected(not at the serious situations themselves but the irony of how those situations were written and given a dry, sarcastic wit in specific moments that were unexpected for me as a viewer), and this movie is not a comedy or lighthearted by any means. While the film is 90 minutes or so, the Director Derick Martini did an excellent job of keeping the film flowing at a good pace and really giving a viewer like me an opportunity to get to know the characters and really feel a sincere connection to them. I only wish it were longer and there were more scenes with Kieran Culkin and his real life brother Rory. They obviously are close in real life as brothers and it was fun to watch them act together in a wonderful film and see that spark and spontaneity in their acting.
As always, Alec Baldwin and Timothy Hutton are strong actors who give their performances in the film a very grounding effect when one could choose not to be sympathetic to the actions of either of their characters. Jill Hennessy did a very fine job as a mother of the two Culkin characters and the frustrated, "good" wife of Alec Baldwin. Emma Roberts gave her character the right amount of worldliness and sensitivity and her chemistry with Rory Culkin was playful and believable, while Cynthia Nixon as the carefree wild wife gives a measured yet insightful performance.
All in all, I really liked the film. I just wish there were more bonus materials for the film such as a Making Of and interviews with the cast. There are many deleted scenes and an alternate ending to watch with commentary from both director Derick Martini and Rory Culkin. I'd still love to hear what they have to say about their characters and how they liked making the film, maybe they'll embellish the bonus materials in a later release.