7 mar. 2014

My Review: At Middleton (5/10)

"The line between ambition and obsession can be much thinner than one might imagine."

At Middleton is one of those films that are hard to review because the dialogue is so cheesy and over the top while the performances are charming and engaging. It's not a good film, but one that works for a certain audience that can appreciate the two lead performances despite the flaws. It's a film about two unlikely people making a connection and if you buy in to that connection you will enjoy this film. The problem is that I never believed these two characters would connect in the way they did and everything felt false despite the sparks of charm and sweetness that the film evokes. It's hard not to enjoy a film starring a funny Andy Garcia (getting away from the dramatic roles we've seen him in) and a lovable Vera Farmiga. Both actors are stunning and enjoyable despite the weak material they had to work with. Several moments felt forced, but the chemistry between the two actors make this film tolerable. At Middleton is Adam Rogers first feature film and he co-wrote the script with Glenn German. It tries to be a mature romantic film about marriage and preparing for the empty nest, but it ended up feeling like a movie you'd catch on Lifetime or the Hallmark channel.

The film takes place during the course of one day as two families are heading to a college tour at Middleton. On the one hand there is Edith (Vera Farmiga) a married businesswoman driving her teenage daughter, Audrey (Taissa Farmiga) to the tour. Audrey is excited about Middleton because she wants the best linguistic professor in the country, Dr. Emerson (Tom Skerrit) to be her advisor. Then we are introduced to George Hartman (Andy Garcia), a heart surgeon who is almost forcing his son Conrad (Spencer Lofranco) to get excited about the tour at Middleton. Once both families arrive at the campus their paths cross during the tour and eventually Edith and George get separated from the rest of the group and spend the rest of the day getting to know each other while they decide to take their own private tour of the college. Despite not liking each other at first, they quickly make a connection and as the day goes on they begin falling for each other.

Halfway through the film I already knew where we were going to end up. It ended as I predicted, but I still enjoyed some of the moments in the film. The chemistry between both actors is charming and sweet despite the fact that most of the film felt forced. The two kids in this film did a decent job as well. Taissa Farmiga plays Vera's daughter although in real life the two are sisters. She does a decent job, but the truth of the matter is that Vera and Andy Garcia are the heart and soul of this film. They make this a watchable film although I wouldn't recommend it. There are some nice sparks that make the film feel pleasant at times and it looks good, but it was just a bit too cheesy for my liking. At Middleton is a bittersweet meh movie; nothing more to add here.


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