"Paper Covers Rock," is an independent movie written and directed by Joe Maggio is about Sam played by Jeannine Kaspar who is a troubled mother struggling to put her life back together and get custody of her daughter after a suicide attempt. It was made in 2008 but is just now being released on DVD on Tuesday, May 4, 2010.
Sam's six-year-old daughter walks in on her after attempting to asphyxiate herself. After a stay in a psychiatric hospital, she moves in with her loving, neat-freak, older sister, Ed played by Sayra Player. Kaspar fantastically captures the symptoms of depression and isolation as she struggles in her recovery but has difficulty reconnecting, even with the people she loves the most like her sister and daughter. She keeps seeing a therapist played by Clint Jordan and develops an interest in rebuilding a bicycle. When a literal game of Rock-Paper-Scissors broke out to determine the price of a bike wheel, it definitely brought a smile to my face along with Sam's. Kaspar dwells on being as minimal as possible in her performance and it pays off when she finds events that do get her incredibly emotional and vocal making them stand out all the more.
Sayra Player's portrayal of Ed is worth noting due to her earnest goodwill toward her sister, her attention to the tiniest differences in emotion, and topping it all off with possessiveness of her space and a serious perfectionist streak. Sam is not allowed in Ed's room but Ed might pop into Sam's to check on her collection of saran-wrap and play watchdog. She sends the message that love also means tough love and refuses to absolutely baby her little sister just because she tried to kill herself since Sam needs to get used to reality and toughen up a little or else she'll keep trying to escape temporary problems with a permanent solution. Ed needs the validation of being needed in her life.
The journey of one woman's struggle with her own reality, sanity, recovery, and dealing with denial comes off very poignantly. Sam has cut off everyone around her except for her sister. Her denial and refusal to even read her mail leaves her reeling without a clue of how to get through it all and pick up the pieces. This film contains some fantastic downplayed acting that speaks volumes and the story is saddening, but well done.
There is a featurette with the cast of the film, mainly Jeannine Kaspar and Sayra Player talking about the journey to finding their characters and inner emotions and includes some rehearsal footage. There is also a three minute featurette with Sam Bisbee, the composer who worked without pay on a beautiful theme of background music for this film. He used mostly piano and the introduction of another instrument called a pog for the introduction and closing credits.