SHORT FILM REVIEW
Come for the grief, stay for the show.
YOUNG SUZANA CONTENDS WITH her grandmother's tyranny as the family makes their weekly pilgrimage to picnic on Grandpa's grave, and with that said, Libertyville sounds like anything but a comedy. My very somber expectation was almost palatable when I pressed the play button on this unusual-sounding short film and half expected a very low-brow college humor title to play out before me. However, I did get slight glimpses of "college" style humor; there wasn't anything cheap or low-brow about this comedic picnic. I have got to say that Devin Scott and Suzana Norberg know how to walk the line between good and bad taste. All in all? I found Libertyville to be a fun and entertaining piece.
THE JOKES IN LIBERTYVILLE ARE GEARED MORE TO THOSE WHO UNDERSTAND A STRICT FAMILY UPBRINGING.
It all starts with what appears to be a regular routine for the family. The weekly trip to grandpa's grave. "It's a Serbian thing." proclaims 11-year-old Suzana as she politely declines an invitation to hang out with her friend. After this moment, we learn of the family dynamic and that grandma is the one calling the shots. She wears the proverbial pants in the family. She's old-school, and she's very strict. Ahhh. I see where this is going.
Once the family arrives at the Libertyville Cemetary, the gags begin to fly. However, they don't really consist of the comedy you may be thinking. The jokes in Libertyville are geared more to those who understand a strict family upbringing and what that "actually" means. Sure. There are a few universal jokes thrown in, such as a fart where a fart shouldn't exist, but mostly, Libertyville is a play on old-school parenting.
THE WAY GRANDMA MANIPULATES NOT ONLY THE CHILDREN BUT HER OWN DAUGHTER FELT CLASSIC TO ME.
The characters themselves may seem a little exaggerated, but I assure you that for many, they are not. I found myself with that bitter-sweet taste of nostalgia for many of the "instances" in this film. The way the grandma manipulates not only the children but her own daughter felt classic to me. And it was a nice touch to see that it wasn't just her own family that bore the brunt of her brashness but pretty much anyone. This was especially highlighted in a scene with an old grieving widow and grandma's "peasant" remarks. This film felt natural to me.
I also want to mention that this film takes place in the early seventies and really nailed the aesthetic. An old car features prominently, but that's not where it ends. The outfits and props all look period correct. I'm not a historian, but to me, everything looked great, which added an extra layer of depth to the film that I was not expecting at all.
THE STORY IS INSTANTLY FAMILIAR, AND, FOR SOME, MAYBE EVEN A LITTLE NOSTALGIC.
You never know what you're going to get when you pull the trigger of an indie movie. You always hope for the best but sometimes things just kind of fall the wayside. Libertyville is one of the good ones. The story is instantly familiar, and, for some, maybe even a little nostalgic, the characters are presented well and hold their own onscreen, and in this case, the movie was pretty funny. I would definitely recommend this movie to friends. Three stars.
DROP A COMMENT, RATE THE MOVIE, OR SHARE?