Parents' Guide to

Last Call

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Intensely personal, evocative drama about suicide.

Movie NR 2020 77 minutes
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This immersive, innovative drama focuses intently on the hopelessness and loneliness of suicidal ideation and its relationship to substance abuse. Because Wilkins and Booth (who's married to the writer-director) aren't instantly recognizable actors and seem totally committed to their roles, there's a realism in Last Call that couldn't have been achieved if it had starred big-name actors. It's suspenseful, building the tension between the main characters as Scott makes more and more revelations that alarm Beth. Composer Adrian Ellis does a stand-out job with the score, establishing the mood and filling the drama like a third character.

There's considerably more movement and action in Beth's shots -- since she's at work -- than in Scott's, since he's mostly home drinking. Every now and then there's brief empty space as Scott, in particular, moves off-screen, but since viewers' eyes have the other shot on which to focus, it's not too off-putting. The parts of the film that have the most impact (aside from its dramatic ending) are Beth and Scott's conversations about their parenting struggles. Even though Beth isn't in the same kind of pain as Scott, she's also in a parenting crisis, because her son hadn't come home when he was expected to before she left for work. The two characters' unusual bond wouldn't work without their parenting stories, and that makes the third-act revelations all the more painful. This isn't an easy film to watch, nor does it offer a simple solution to the problem of suicidal ideation. And although Booth isn't Alfred Hitchcock, Sam Mendes, Mike Figgis, or Alejandro Iñárritu, kudos to his ambition and passion in making a one-shot film that's one long phone conversation.

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