Caroline & Jackie (2013)

Comments Off on Caroline & Jackie (2013) 09 May 2013

Studio: Phase 4 FilmsCaroline & Jackie poster

Theatrical Release: May 3, 2013 (limited)

Director: Adam Christian Clark

Not Rated

Review by Richard Rey

Caroline’s (Marguerite Moreau) obsession with her sister Jackie (Bitsie Tulloch) is more than just a little off. Adulation this excessive and this twisted merits incarceration in the loony bin or, at the very least, a big fat restraining order.

This visit to her younger sister’s home has Caroline especially tickled since she has plans to throw a surprise party at a local restaurant where Jackie’s closest friends, James (Jason Gray-Stanford) Michelle (Valerie Azlynn) and her most recent flavor of the week, Charlie (David Fruit), and Jackie’s attractive boyfriend, Ryan (David Giuntoli), are all in on the birthday bash.

Even more startling than the dinner is Caroline’s incessant resolve that everyone return to the house to gather rather than finish the hot plates of food they’ve just been served. Awkwardly aggressive in her mannerisms, Marguerite Moreau plays Caroline with the quiet, sincere, overprotective attitude these type of people really have; that’s what makes her so damned scary and unpredictable. She goes to the extent of pulling out a “family photo” of the best time the close-knit sisters had together – a picture of Jackie’s broken arm (shown off camera, thank god) that acts as some sort of sick perverted memento of Caroline’s caring nature.

When Caroline and company get home, they confess the real reason for the gathering: Jackie’s addictive behavior and anorexia. From then on things take a hard left turn for the worst, skidding out of control through the dark pathological defects that might just crash us right into the neighboring Virginia Woolf’s front yard.

Unfortunately, this lengthy intervention scene becomes so incredibly wacky and off-putting, you’ll want to either laugh or crawl out of the theater to avoid the painful discomfort and terrible dialogue. The film’s initial success at getting us to ask what is really going on quickly turns into the mother/girlfriend nagging you narrowly escaped on the way to the movie theater.

First time feature film maker and writer-director Adam Christian Clark, a USC film school grad, makes sure to tack on just enough visual appeal to trick audience members into staying in their seats to watch the 85 grueling minutes of bickering between two basket case sisters and their nonstop shenanigans.  In essence, two emotionally unstable ladies have just arrived from Psychotown with claws out, teeth-bearing, and knives in hand and they’ve managed to trap their pals from Dunceville in the living room to watch them go at it.  No person in their right mind would stick it out for an emotionally draining exhibition like this. Then again we’re not talking about intelligent, stable people now are we? (That’s the point of the movie, after all, isn’t it?) Instead we are left to deal with underwritten supporting characters that frankly resemble the idiotic teens of slasher movies; the problem is, Leatherface didn’t get an invite.

While its start is satisfyingly uncomfortable, its end is the pinnacle of mental exhaustion; a whiny annoying onslaught between the two nutty brunettes. Something must be said of their powerful turns which were somehow drawn out of this lethal material. What masquerades as a story of profound sisterly love is really the following message: support, protect, defend and completely enable loved ones even when they’re terribly wrong and undoubtedly in need of psychological help.

Rating: ★½☆☆☆

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