Would You Be Shocked If "Kelly & Cal" Put On Something More Uncomfortable? Review

Let's see how you're healing up.

Kelly & Cal (2014) is open to lazy comparisons to Harold and Maude (1971) as the back cover suggests, but they're similarity is superficial. Kelly (Juliette Lewis) is a new mother, fitting uncomfortably in this role. The unceasing yowl of her new spawn is grating her down to a single raw nerve. Her husband Josh (Josh Hopkins) doesn't seem to having any of these difficulties, but that might be because he's buried in own work. After an abrupt confrontation with a wheelchair-bound boy, Cal (Jonny Weston), she apologizes and begins an ambiguous relationship that inevitably veers into the inappropriate. But along the way, their alienation in prim suburbia gives them welcome respite and perspective to look into the future.

What Harold and Maude had to say about propriety (or its irrelevance) and death is as far removed from Kelly & Cal as its manner of expression. Kelly & Cal knows--or assumes--where that middle ground between impropriety and priggishness lies. Its comedy is based in discomfort and frustration rather than dark gags. Kelly & Cal is concerned with telling a "real" story where normal audience members might recognize their own difficulty with feeling the right way or dealing with dead ambitions. This is another gently uncomfortable indie flick from IFC Films with the right kind of melancholy folk rock and slice of life feeling. When people look back on this decade of film, will they find the endless trips to the woods and family dysfunction charming or so oft repeated to be worthless? At least Kelly & Cal has two uncommon outcasts--with highly convenient similarities--that do something to scrape away at the thirtysomething hipster milieu that usually dominates these films. It also avoids one massive cliché on its way to falling into a massively loose-end-tying more-happy-than-it-deserves ending. Like most IFC releases, everyone is doing great work towards achievable ends.

Bonus features

A featurette and a trailer.

"Kelly & Cal" is on sale December 30, 2014 and is rated R. Drama. Directed by Jen Mcgowan. Written by Amy Lowe Starbin. Starring Jonny Weston, Juliette Lewis.

Jason Ratigan • Staff Writer

A lawyer-turned-something-else with a strong appreciation for film and television.  He knows he can't read every great book ever written, but seeing every good movie ever made is absolutely doable.  Check out his other stuff on Wordpress.


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