Boundaries is a road-trippin’ comedy-drama with a cast that most directors would kill for, including Oscar – nominee Vera Farmiga, Oscar-winner Christopher Plummer, the talented Lewis MacDougall, the big-hearted Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Bobby Cannavale, Christopher Lloyd and Peter Fonda. It just happens to be laced with a little pot for good measure. Be sure to check out our interview with director Shana Feste and actors Lewis MacDougall and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.
Life is full of choices. Whether we turn left or right the choices we make define who we are and who we are to become. One thing that we have no choice over is who our blood is. We can escape from them at some point or we can embrace them.
Shana Feste’s Boundaries sets out to accept both choices, and embraces blood head-on. Within a set of boundaries, of course.
Laura (Vera Farmiga) is a hard working single mom. She is also overextended and is so neurotic that she cannot see the fact that she’s being used by a friend. She also loves animals. Her son, Henry (Lewis MacDougall) wants very little to do with her, a product of her neurosis and a broken home. Oscar-winner Christopher Plummer plays Jack. Jack is the source of the majority of Laura’s neuroses and he is being kicked out of his retirement home over his pot-dealing activities. Jack now needs Laura to drive him from Portland to L.A. so that he can live with JoJo (Kristen Schaal).
Much of the 104 – minute run time is spent in a 1980’s Jaguar, which Jack has maintained over the years. It is the perfect setting for what should be a ‘quick’ jaunt down the Pacific coast. Laura doesn’t want to be on the trip any more than Jack wants her on the trip and Henry would be left to his own devices if it were up to him.
Road trip films have this innate ability to attract the most amazing supporting cast members, and Boundaries is no exception. Even before we begin on our adventure, we meet Serge (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), a co-worker and friend of Laura’s. He’s someone we know will be with us on the journey and when we get back. We also meet Stanley (Christopher Lloyd) and Joey (Peter Fonda), old friends of Jack’s. They are both an absolute hoot to watch.
Finally, we get to meet Leonard, played by Bobby Cannavale. Leonard is Laura’s ex and Laura wants nothing to do with Leonard. Really. Of course, Jack has other plans, but soon realizes that it was a mistake for Leonard and Laura to catch up.
The spirit of Ms. Feste’s script is about rekindling relationships, whether its father-daughter, grandfather-grandson or mother-son, the script manages to find equal footing in all three relationships, but not before breaking down each character’s own boundaries. The strength in those relationships is in the dialog. Mr. Plummer has never been as sharp-witted and acerbic as he is here, his take on the role is very laid back, with almost a child-like quality about it.
The hijinks that Ms. Feste puts Jack through pairs exceptionally well with young Lewis MacDougall’s mischievous Henry. I shared with the actor in an interview that I felt he had a very old, experienced soul, which enriched the story far beyond its intended years.
Ms. Feste uses visual cues to tell her story as much as she uses dialog. Her mainstay throughout the film is her love of animals, which she shared with me during the same interview. She’ll even stop the road trip for Laura to rescue a dog on the road trip. We don’t mind because it is Laura’s guiding light.
Boundaries is a road trip with many possibilities and all roads lead to love, laughter and family. Eventually.
Boundaries has been rated R by the MPAA.