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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

LIFE OF SIGNIFICANT SOIL -- Movie Review by Porfle

If you took GROUNDHOG DAY, removed the comedy, and replaced Bill Murray with a young couple whose relationship is on its last legs and in need of some serious revising, you'd have something like the romantic drama LIFE OF SIGNIFICANT SOIL (2016).

Charlotte Bydwell is Addison, an aspiring dancer whose aspirations have dissolved into the malaise that is her relationship with Conor (Alexis Mouyiaris), an irresponsible, self-centered manchild who takes her for granted.

Con wants the stability of his life with Add, while maintaining a steady sex life with Jackie (Anna Jack), a ditzy blonde who lives in the apartment downstairs and has a sad unrequited love for him.

The GROUNDHOG DAY premise kicks in when Con and Add start reliving the same day over and over again, beginning with their air-conditioner conking out every morning and Add finding out, via a home testing kit, that she's pregnant. 

Eventually they catch on to what's happening--even, in one of the more interesting scenes, visiting a doctor to find out if there's some medical cause--and, after accepting it as a fact, discover it to both accentuate the things that are wrong between them and also give them a chance to work them out.

Unfortunately, Con's irresponsibility and Add's dissatisfaction present seemingly insurmountable obstacles for their continued coexistence, with Add repeatedly trying to leave him while he begs her to stay. 

Regardless of what they do, however--including Add getting an illicit abortion and then waking up later to find Con missing and presumed in bed with Jackie again--everything resets itself in the morning (including her pregnancy) and the same day must be played out yet again with varying results.

Writer/director Michael Irish, in his feature debut, gives the direction and photography a sort of artsy hand-held casualness that fits the low-key material.  LIFE OF SIGNIFICANT SOIL isn't a comedy, although it has its sadly amusing aspects, nor does it veer into heavy drama, though sadly dramatic it often is. 

Instead, there's a sort of resigned existentialism and wistfully meta melancholy running through the story, during which the characters engage in much introspection and contemplation of their lot in life.  Add, especially, yearns for something more, yet is continually reticent to leave the dependant Con and venture into the unknown. 

All of this must sound like chick-flick hell to some, yet LIFE OF SIGNIFICANT SOIL is surprisingly watchable and engaging if you settle into it just right.  While the ending doesn't exactly blow the doors off the place, it's just oddly effective enough to leave me a bit wistful and contemplative myself.

Buy it at
Amazon video


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