This shaggy small-town drama, painted in shades of gray drizzle, comes across a bit too much like a frothy soap opera, but the vivid atmosphere and honest commitment to the characters keep it afloat. For large sections, watching Lorelei is like seeing a train wreck in slow motion, as characters make iffy decisions or simply suffer from bad luck or poor timing. Wayland loses his one meager job for selling drugs, and when he gets a packet of money from his biker gang, he's unwisely counting it when he runs into his parole officer. And Dolores doesn't exactly always make the best choices, either.
But, eventually, after Wayland gets the hang of the house and gets to know the kids, Lorelei narrows its focus on the core fivesome, and a more truthful dynamic forms, one more based on emotions than actions. Writer-director Sabrina Doyle, making her feature debut, tries a few visual and thematic flourishes, such as associating Dolores with the ocean and naming the three kids after shades of blue, as well as a few nightmare sequences for Wayland. These tend to work, lifting the movie out of its rut of grim realism. The final sequence (where the title finally comes into play) is a real thing of beauty -- and the movie's most hopeful scene.