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ALEX OF VENICE – TFF 2014 Movie Review

Alex of Venice
Spotlight....86 min.....Drama, Relationships
World Premiere: April 18, 2014
alex of venice
DIRECTOR: .Chris Messina
WRITERS: .Jessica Goldberg, Katie Nehra & Justin Shilton
Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Don Johnson, Derek Luke, Katie Nehra, Chris Messina, Skylar Gaertner
alex of venice
Facebook....@AlexofVenice....Instagram....ALEX OF VENICE – TFF 2014

SYNOPSIS: Workaholic environmental attorney Alex (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has always relied on her husband George (Chris Messina) to take the reins at home. But when he unexpectedly asks for a break, his departure forces Alex to reevaluate her life as she juggles the care of her son and needs of an aspiring-actor father (Don Johnson), all amid the most important case of her life. Actor Chris Messina steps behind the camera for his directorial debut about a woman pushed to the edge who finds the strength to press on.

Alex of Venice, Chris Messina’s (Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The Mindy Project) directorial debut, is an emotionally robust tale of personal growth that follows wife-mom-lawyer Alex (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) as she powerfully navigates the transition from one-half of a couple to one whole individual, and learns to embrace life’s myriad and constant changes.

Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Smashed) is quietly stunning in all of Alex’s various circumstances, from bewildered, overwhelmed and frazzled, to focused, confident and accepting. Playing Alex’s sister Lily, co-writer Katie Nehra is a hilarious hurricane of a person—flighty and somewhat frustrating at times, but nonetheless wholly well-intentioned and sympathetic of Alex and nephew Dakota’s (Skylar Gaertner) respective plights. As Alex’s live-in father (who, at times, seems more like a second child), Don Johnson is strong in all aspects of his character—from a fickle pothead and anxious auditioner, to a heartbreaking man mystified by aging’s unexpected and uncontrollable effects.

Frequently bathed in yellow, earthy tones—not a Traffic yellow, but rather a how-glorious-is-Mother-Earth ocher—the film has an enjoyably uplifting and optimistic feel, despite its unhappier themes. Alex of Venice proves Messina a director capable of deftly handling a profoundly emotional film, and calls into question why more films have not sought the ever-compelling Winstead for their leading lady.

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Featured Image: Alex (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) & George (Chris Messina) © 2014 Electric City Entertainment (Photo: Melissa Moseley)

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Sarah Katz

Sarah Katz

Born-and-bred New Yorker. Lifelong film & TV lover—from chick flicks, rom-coms, rom-droms, rom-drams, and tweentertainment, to Shakespeare, period pieces, James Bond, fairy tales, and mafia movies.