Published on November 3rd, 2016 | by Neil Jordan0
Greetings & Salutations Fellow Movie Fanatics ….
Dramatic events good or bad somehow, someway seem to go hand in hand with music. Whether the life-changing events are influenced by music or if music helps guide us following said events. ‘Music’ always seems to play a role regardless if it’s a minor footnote or drives the course of whatever may happen. Today’s film for your consideration features a main character heavily influenced by music. It’s the force that drives him and weighs heavily on nearly every decision he makes whether it’s in his own mind or is essentially an external force steering the course of his life.
‘Mommy’s Box’ is a dramatic and slightly dark comedy directed by Johnny Greenlaw and written by Greenlaw and Caitlin Scherer. Greenlaw also stars in the film alongside Carly Brooke, Bill Sorvino, Gina Scarda, Jennifer Dorcic, David Harris, Joesph D’Onofrio, Kade Wise, Christine Copley, Kelly Karavites, John Dorcic, Dennis Neary, and Tom Rizzuto.
Greenlaw is Nick. A music producer in New York City battling his own inner demons while trying to make his mark when he learns of the untimely death of his estranged mother after her lifelong struggle with bipolar disorder only to succumb to an unnamed illness. Reluctantly, he returns to his hometown for her funeral and comes face to face with his brother Joey, former friends, and the past he left behind. Even after her death, the influence of their mother still weighs heavily upon the lives of Nick and his brother as the both try to cope with the past in their own way. One night, in his attempt to escape from his mother’s “shadow”, music weighs heavily on the course of Nick’s life when we encounters Jordana (Brooke). A singer/musician from his hometown whose beauty and talent instantly capture Nick’s attention. As Nick and Jordana spend more time together, Nick’s inspiration and passion for his work is rejuvenated and he even begins to see a future with Jordana both personal and professional as his feelings for her become more intense and her talent drives his ambition more and more. Once again the past comes back to haunt him as he discovers that his mother’s influence may very well include Jordana as well. Nick realizes that he can no longer turn away from everything he wanted to forget and leave behind if he wants to hold onto the woman he loves and his newfound sense of purpose.
I must admit, I’m kind of torn on this film. Although the actors delivered a top draw performance and the directing worthy of praise, the story and the progression of the film is somewhat confusing. The film starts off simple enough as it progresses and you begin to get a sense of what is transpiring, but then it’s like when you engage in a round on pinball machine. You pull the lever back and then let it go as the ball shoots off fast and straight but once it reaches that arch, it bounces back and forth with varying speeds both slow and fast. It’s clear that the mother has influence over the main character Nick and his brother Joey and one would imagine in a situation like this that as they reconcile there would be a time frame where they would bond and ‘repair’ their mutual past so to speak. This is shown in the film but only very briefly and little is said or explored. Nick’s relationship with Jordana involved a pivotal plot twist within the film which was a great idea on the part of the writer but is only explored briefly in an exchange between the brothers and a brief flashback scene involving Nick and Joey’s mother. When the plot twist reveals itself it had the potential for an intense dramatic scene but it kind of fizzled out.
The film also has 1 or 2 other subplots that start off as potentially crucial to Nick’s backstory but suddenly stop without any explanation.
All that being said, the people involved in the film definitely put their heart and soul in the film and you can see that influence and although the film has already won numerous awards, it had the potential to be so much more. If these folks could potentially collaborate to make another film, I have no doubt that it could potentially be an amazing movie and certainly surpass this one.
3 out of 5 stars.