Director: Alex Thompson Starring: Kelly O’Sullivan, Ramona Edith Williams, Charin Alvarez, Lily Mojekwu Running Time: 101 minutes
Being “real” is often one of the main aims of the indie dramedy; the gentle, sensibly chuckling low-budget-low-stakes affairs can pride themselves on being more connected to the genuine experiences of everyday life than contrived, overwrought Hollywood productions. Yet this kind of storytelling, chock a block at film festivals the world over, can take on their own stifling conventions and cliches, and the bad cases often present a reality that’s little more than the same platitudes of the big leagues, except mumbled. Saint Frances’ foundation of white slacker ennui doesn’t seem to offer much new on first glance, but through strong stains of period blood, ugly tears of postpartum depression and more, it does explore a number of truths and vulnerabilities with a welcome sense of honesty, the kind that too many films of this type end up glossing over with their Sundance-friendly optimism. Writer and star Kelly O’Sullivan and director Alex Thompson use a standard setup, but are happy to wander from it to more interesting places.