1990's Morality


20 July 2017| No Comments on Landline     by Sean Chavel



An indie film with a loopy hook. Landline is a Manhattan-set character study between sisters and parents, plus it is a naturalistic melodrama set in 1995, before the tech phone and internet revolution, when people were still talking and bantering with each other, and could get away with bad secrets and commit misdemeanors at such an easier time. I should mention that the movie is also a smart human foibles comedy. Jenny Slate, a short time alum of “Saturday Night Live,” is a good actress in small doses – she goes back and forth between real and Jewish angst caricature. Also good are Abby Quinn as the sister, Edie Falco as the mother, Jay Duplass as the boyfriend, and Finn Wittrock as the hot boy toy with a fake good conscience. Saving the best for last is John Turturro as the father and lousy playwright (who gets his work put on stage anyway), who I think is quite excellent. If you’ve admired Turturro’s work over the years but if you haven’t seen anything worthwhile recent with him, you definitely got something you gotta see here.

With this mid-1990’s hook, it covers its bases with all its pop culture references from the era (strange, to write era in regards to the 1990’s). It’s also one of those chatty type of indies that works for several scenes in a row, before it dawdles, and wonder when the film is going to pick up again. Well, it does once it gets going again. Slate cheats on her fiancé with the aforementioned boy-toy, but the film does build to something truly compelling: the sisters suspicion of adultery coming in-between their parents’ marriage.

You can say he’s not right to have done what he did, but Turturro has one of the most stirring and thought-provoking speeches about why a man cheats in the first place and why the transgression really did rescue his spirit from the doldrums. His feelings are honest and right, at the least. It’s pure, persuasive heartbreak we get from Turturro, who channels eons to what its like to be in a marriage that he felt has gone on too long but never wanted to leave either.

Great acting there, and I had one of those moments where I was like, “Turturro has to be nominated for Best Supporting Actor, and the Academy will be wrong to snub him and I just know they will snub him!” Back to the overall film itself, it is more of a mother-daughter bonding picture, I believe. There’s some resilience achieved to get through the family hypocrisy, the daughters tunnel through with some soul-searching, and there’s some other small life lessons as well. And there’s a poignant final scene that I honestly was moved by. Or, in other words, enough good stuff to nearly make you forget some of the dried up, spotty stuff. Turturro is the best reason to see the film, hands down.

93 Minutes. Rated R.


Film Cousins: “The Brothers McMullen” (1995); “Home for the Holidays” (1995); “Box of Moonlight” (1998); “Whatever Works” (2009).

Landline FlickMinute_2017-Poster_Indie_Positive - Review

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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