Hello Lonesome (Adam Reid, 2010): USA

Reviewed by Kathleen Amboy.  Viewed at the Regal Cinemas, Los Angeles Film Festival.

  Writer/director Adam Reid produces an observation of loneliness in his first feature length film Hello Lonesome.

In the first of three vignettes, Bill (Harry Chase) is a relatively successful and extremely selfish VO actor.  His current wife has just left him and his adult daughter ignores his obnoxious but contrite phone calls.  His only friend appears to be Omar (Kamel Boutros) the delivery man.

Eleanor (Lynn Cohen) is still mourning the death of her husband from the previous year.  After a fender-bender she  looses her right to drive and has to rely on her divorced and homely , next-door neighbor Gary (James Urbaniak) to get around town.

Gordon and Debby (Nate Smith and Sabrina Lloyd) meet on-line, and they soon have a casual sexual relationship, until Debby discovers she has cancer and Gordon has a revelation that he loves her.

Through brief moments of humor (not laugh out loud), each character study unravels.  Bill accidentally locks himself into his soundproof room, until Omar bails him out, announcing “I have a package for you.”

Eleanor and Gary, opposites in every way, end up sharing the same bed.  While Gordon and Debby work through their issues of insecurity, dependency on television and on-line gambling, and finally health and life.

The title sequence is clever, quirky, and economical, displaying a suburban neighborhood, but in miniature form with catchy upbeat music.  Because of this, the elements of humor are slightly off-kilter and a bit of a let down.  The humor is not quite funny enough, while the reflective moments are far from meaningful. 

When Debby succumbs to cancer, Smith portrays Gordon, with the same impersonal enthusiasm as his casual sexual experience.  Likewise, Bill a shooting enthusiast, wields his gun in maniacal fashion, invoking in the audience an apprehension of wondering if he will off himself  at any given moment.

It’s unpredictable but not interesting.  Depressing in content, and due to the fact that the characters are so bland yet needy, the audience is left with a feeling that we could care less what happens to any of the characters.

Since every character seems to be the archetypal loner, the plot line might have been stretched a bit more had Reid taken an atypical loner, a character study of one who is constantly surrounded by others, yet experiences the same empty feelings of loneliness.

The cast of Hello Lonesome was awarded the Best Ensemble Performance in the Narrative Competition at LAFF.

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