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Review: Diane

This review is provided by Faye Hellner & Marni Hellner from our Open Call for Film Critics & Writers!

dir. Kent Jones | United States | English | 2018 | 95 min | Fiction

Through exquisite cinematography we experience the visually stunning somewhere-near-Massachusetts setting first hand, driving back and forth on country roads as we follow Diane’s frenetic schedule of caring for her addicted son, visiting her dying cousin, volunteering for the local food kitchen.  We drive with Diane as she looks after everyone but herself.

The film poignantly depicts the all too familiar female mea culpa syndrome as Diane searches for redemption.  She has metaphorically wrapped herself in shame and although she is dearly loved by all who know her, she cannot love herself until she is forgiven by the one, she cares about most.

Sense of community and female friendship both strong factors in this film.  Characters are well developed and credible.  The focus is on Diane, but her ageing friends and neighbours play both active and passive roles.  A senior audience will relate immediately to the personalities, the various health concerns and the diminishing numbers as the film progresses.

Boldly irreverent and punctuated with moments of tenderness, Kent Jones’ film is intentionally slow paced: repetitive yet never boring.  We experience the monotony and fragility of life and begin to sense the dichotomy of both the slowness and the speed at which it passes. The camera works magic with close-up shots and a small but effective dose of special effects.

This film is well worth watching, albeit bleak.  Mary Kay Place smiles but once during the ninety-five minutes and that is only during a dream sequence.  The narrative progresses at a steady and even rhythm until the finale when Jones takes an abrupt and unanticipated leap from the body of the film to its conclusion.  Is this purposeful directing in order to highlight the tragedy of Diane’s wasted years of self-recrimination?  Is it intended to simply emphasize the speed and transient nature of life?  Or is it the crack in the film that lets the light shine in?

Interested in seeing this film? Reserve your tickets for Diane here!