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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

'Longing' DVD: Baby Daddy Gets Schooled in Parenthood

The Breaking Glass Pictures DVD release of the 2017 drama "Longing" once again shows the talent of Breaking regarding separating the wheat from the chaff. Facially, this tale of 40-something businessman Ariel Bloch learning that he knocked up his college girlfriend back in the day is about coming to terms with not raising your child, This film being so much more makes it special.

The strong indie vibe, the quirky characters, and the increasingly bizarre situations evoke thoughts of the hit art-house film "Little Miss Sunshine." That movie has a dysfunctional family taking a hurried cross-country road trip. 

The Israeli Film Academy and the Jerusalem Film Festival both bestowing best screenplay awards on "Longing" reinforces the praise for it, 

Our story begins with baby momma Ronit ambushing Ariel with the big news at what he thinks is a casual reunion; Ronit becoming hysterical in both senses of the word makes the audience wonder what Ariel saw in her in the first place, Ronit naming their son Adam is very apt in the context of how well his birth father knows him.

The next big bombshell is that Adam is dead; this prompts Ariel to travel to see the grave of this teen.

This visit really sets the film in motion; the almost constant reveals should be relatable to even parents who discover that they really do not know even their kids in the hall, Watching Ariel increasingly getting involved in the former life of Adam and becoming protective of him is even more fascinating. This clearly extends well beyond guilt related to not being there and empty gestures that try to compensate for that failure. Ariel feels very strongly about fighting for his boy.

Writer/director Savi Gabizon artfully builds this part of the story on micro and macro levels. This begins with the partner-in-crime of Adam tracking down Ariel and telling him more and more things that he does not want to hear. This climaxes with that boy making unreasonable demands on Ariel.

We then meet the object of the obsession of Adam and get to know his live-in booty call. This is not to mention seeing a grand declaration of love that is not perceived well. 

Things really get weird when Ariel bonds with the father of a teen suicide victim. The men develop an unorthodox plan that they hope provides their offspring eternal peace. The execution of this scheme leads to a very bizarre confrontation regarding an assertion that Adam is not good enough for the daughter.

The"wait there's more" aspect of "Longing" is that we learn of a like father like son side of Adam; this only contributes to the sense that the boy is haunting his parents from the grave. 

Gabizon wraps all this up with a scene that concludes many more conventional films.  

This review wraps up with the observation that "Longing" has so many twists and wry humor that lovers of indie films and/or character studies are sure to love it.

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