Parents' Guide to


By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Blah bereavement comedy has lots of pot, drinking, swearing.

Movie R 2020 98 minutes
Elsewhere Poster Image

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This movie's title says it all: If you're looking for entertainment, look Elsewhere. It's beautiful but dull. While there's plenty of blame to pass around -- including the writing, directing, and editing -- the biggest problems are the unlikable main character and the star's monotone, cardboard-box acting. To get on board with Bruno's bizarre decision-making, viewers have to care about him like his friends and family do -- and he offers us no reason to do so. He's depressed, which is understandable, but eating his co-worker's labeled food in the work fridge isn't. He's a jerk. Bruno's allies try to be supportive and loving during his difficult time, but it's obvious by the end of the film that he's using his grief to get away with being self-absorbed. Some of the characters call him out, but we never get a compelling reason to accompany him on his journey. Yes, Bruno's wake-up moment costs him something (it costs others more), but since Young shows his emotions by staring into space, that impact isn't felt by viewers.

Parker Posey, Beau Bridges, Jacki Weaver, Jackie Tohn, and Ken Jeong do their best to lift Elsewhere up, but if you want to make a film about depression feel less dreary, you have to give skilled comedic actors like these material that's genuinely funny. In truth, the standout performance comes from director of photography Glauco Bermudez: His landscape cinematography of Sooke, British Columbia, is rich, luxurious, and IMAX-worthy. The gorgeousness goes beyond catching a drop of water fall off a leaf; it's consistent throughout. That said, the lighting and angles aren't always kind to Posey in a way that seems deliberate. Her character, Marie, is supposed to represent the light and life that she brings to Bruno, and Posey's acting supports that, but the way she's filmed makes her drab. Bruno doesn't deserve Marie, and Posey and the supporting cast deserve a better movie.

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