Monday, September 01, 2014

"Refuge (or "Lost in Love")": A woman raises her siblings when her parents abandons them, and a boyfriend wants to repair himself with an instant family

Refuge” has been used as a movie title often, but the 2012 film from Jessica Goldberg, available on DVD from Strand Releasing on September 9, has important things to say.  How often is it that we feel smug about people do make “bad” or “reckless choices”, and don’t seem smart enough to stay out of trouble, until we learn they have been dealt an unlucky hand in life that we’ve never considered.
At one point, the heroine Amy (Krysten Ritter), raising two younger teen siblings in a run-down Long Island house, says, “Think what I could be if I didn’t have to take care of them”, and her impromptu boyfriend Sam (Brian Geraghty) retorts, “You wouldn’t be anything.”  At this point, Sam sees the opportunity to redeem his own troubled life (he went on the road after accidentally killing his brother with a DUI in Cleveland) by marrying Amy and claiming an instant family.
The back story is that Amy’s parents just got up and left for Florida one day, leaving her with a disabled brother (from brain surgery for a tumor) and restless sister.  Why did the system fail her?  Where was Child Protective Services?   Life doesn’t always work, and in the real world, the childless often wind up raising “OPC”, other people’s children (including their own parents’).
It’s quite touchy.  In an early scene, when Amy has brought Sam home from a bar, the teen brother (Logan Huffman) comes into the bedroom and whines that he can’t sleep.  Why is this Amy’s problem?  Of course, at this point, we don’t know about his disability.  In another scene, the sister (Madeleine Martin) is told by a high school friend to stay away because the friend’s mom will take away her family computer privileges.
There were times in my own life when I thought that people resented the idea that, because I am gay and insular, I’m not available to pick up the pieces of another family.  That reminds me of the child migrant issue, and the immigration debate is mentioned once in the film.

Saturday afternoon, in Charlestown W VA (in the eastern Panhandle) I happen to be seated in a family restaurant next to a family, and could overhear the father disciplining a finicky eater child.  I am hardly cut out for that!
The film has considered another title, “Lost in Love”.  Geraghty looks quite smooth, in fact, perhaps shaved.
The official Facebook is here.

I reviewed this from an advance private Vimeo screener.  The film was shown in Woodstock and Newport Beach film festivals. 

New York State, outside NYC, seems to be quite welcoming to volumes of independent film. 
The director and writer is also known as a producer and writer of the NBC series “Parenthood” (TV blog, March 29, 2014). 

Picture: CitiField, mine (June 2014) from LIRR. 

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