New from Robert Daniels on 812 Film Reviews: [CIFF]: ‘Diane’

Diane is a woman coming undone. Always a call away, her life is now multiple calls and check-in’s. Check-in’s to see her drug addict son Brian (Jake Lacy). Check-in’s to see her cousin Donna (Deirdre O’Connell) battling cervical cancer, to the food pantry, to visit old friends.

Life is often meant to come undone, meant for the center to not hold. The august life often gives way to death, rarely with a regal end. But Diane, played by Mary Kay Place, still traverses the twisting and trialed roads to the hospital, to her son’s drug den, to home. Each trip welcomes reflection and introspection to a life where little is given and little abides.

Diane is about loss and recovery, and the spinning of the world long after we die. It’s the extraction of meaning from ultimately a meaningless world, as our loved ones come and go.

Nevertheless, director and writer Kent Jones‘s story isn’t a manipulative story at all. That is, we’re meant to follow Diane throughout her life, from year-to-year and sometimes what might be a decade later. There’s little to no surprise in it, except for a few dream sequences which are testaments to Diane’s regrets, fears, and curiosities. These are the only bumps to a cycle that ends with death. Because, set in a small, Diane is meant to have that repetition of playing out one’s last days wondering what it was all for.

Jones, Mary Kay Price, and a brilliant ensemble play out all our lives and all our fears in dialogue that inhabits the cruelty and unease of life and death, exploring the haunting of our memories of days gone by.

An official selection of the Chicago International Film Festival (CIFF): 2018.

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