It's simple. Trust. And yet it is the hardest thing to do.
Trust in others. Trust in yourself.
The characters that are forced into each others lives in this beautiful, touching and sensitive film are compelled to look at their own life, their own situations and also that of the other. Beautifully acted in gobsmacking plainness is Adrienne Shelly and Martin Donovan (a man I would sleep with!), with Hal Hartley's dead-pan screenplay, it is pure enjoyment, and widely funny. It's not a comedy aimed for the lazy brain, but an attempt to show us what people are capable of doing given the right circumstances at the wrong time. It's the best portrayal of messed up youths done in an anti-John Hughes way, especially of a young girl's 'growing-up' that is at it's core and truly inspirational.
Teenager Maria Coughlan (beautifully portrayed by Adrienne Shelly) is thrown out of her home by her tired and frustrated mum after becoming pregnant to the High School jock, and for slapping her dad moments before his fatal heart attack. She meets up with disillusioned Matthew Slaughter (wonderful dead-pan humour by Martin Donovan). He carries a hand grenade and a few classic books around contemplating all sorts. Their meeting of chance sets them up against each other's fears and accomplishments unachieved, Maria being the one who carries through a great deal of choices she makes in the right direction to turn her life around. Matthew attempts to reunite with people in general and work, but is overcome by the apathy of others, and in turn becomes apathetic. With a missing baby in the news, they try to find out the reason behind it and solve this mystery while solving their own.
Other characters in the movie (notably Maria's slightly obsessed mum, played with ruthless calmness by Merritt Nelson) interweave in and out of the story as the thread that has bound the 2 main characters in the choices they had made, but now choose their own paths.
It's about growing up, letting go, and trusting. The best heart felt moment for me (and one of the funniest) is the catching scene between petit Marie, and larger than life Matthew. It is the turning point of the film. The centre piece.
It's gritty, compelling and very funny. Hugely enjoyable, and Hal Hartley's most accomplished film for me. American independent cinema at its best ever!
This is my number one favourite film, right next to 'Drowning By Numbers'.