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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

PARKER'S ANCHOR -- Movie Review by Porfle

It sounds like classic chick-flick material right down to some of the taglines ("She's still a work in progress" and "Letting go is just the beginning").  But with PARKER'S ANCHOR (2017) we go well past that and deep into "Mommy-flick" territory. 

Anyone already bearing the title of "Mommy", striving to achieve it, or simply simpatico to someone to whom doing so is her most fervent desire should find something somewhere in this story of quiet desperation and yearning that they can grab onto and be carried along.  

Krystal Parker (Jennica Schwartzman, RIDGE RUNNERS) belongs in the category of "striving"--she is, in fact in the forefront of it.  Clearly rudderless and drifting through life at the moment, Parker needs an anchor (hence the title, as I so cleverly surmised early on) and thinks a baby will be just the ticket to smooth sailing and a clearer course.  (The movie's voiceover uses metaphors like this too, so don't blame me.) 

Her own sense of self-worth, in fact, seems seriously dependent on this, and we find that anchors are a recurring motif in her life.

Trouble is, Krystal has been diagnosed as infertile.  This wrecks her marriage and drives her back to her hometown of Fayetteville, Arkansas for some soul-fortifying moral support from wise and perceptive childhood BFF Corinne (Amy Argyle), with whom she moves in.  Some familiar chick-flick tropes will provide spiritual sustenance for those so inclined, such as languidly contemplative talks over big glasses of wine.

Krystal will feel a bit like a comical third wheel when Corinne's playfully romantic husband Kevin (Jennica Schwartzman's real-life spouse Ryan) shows up to be the funny-cute guy in the story until her potential love interest appears. 

With all this going on, I was grateful that the majority of it manages to not be maudlin, and we're spared the usual over-the-top melodramatics and crazoid behavior that fuels so many similar stories.

What also keeps it from being a bummer is the fact that the aforementioned voiceover is being done by a young girl who refers to Krystal as "Mom."  So apparently things will work out (in that area, anyway) to a certain degree.  And the speaker is wise beyond her years in telling us about her mom in a fondly perceptive way. 

There's a classic meet-cute with Kevin's humanitarian brother Jared (Chris Marquette), which kicks off the main part of Krystal's story when we finally start finding out where this is all headed. 

This is followed by an eat-cute when Corinne's mom, Laurie (Penny Johnson Jerald, "The Orville", "The Larry Sanders Show") and her boyfriend Clinton (Michael Beach, "ER", "Stargate: Atlantis", TRUE ROMANCE), join them for an amusing Thanksgiving dinner after which Laurie shares some mom-type wisdom that gives Krystal further food for thought.

To reveal any more would ruin the very deliberately-paced series of life-altering events that the screenplay (by the Schwartzmans) reveals to us little by little until we begin to see that "work in progress" develop into the kind of person who's actually capable of raising a kid. 

To call this film "low-key" would be an understatement.  But if you buy into the movie's premise and the unhurried mood that conveys it, you're pretty much settled into the story already.

I've reviewed tons of movies yet still have pretty limited experience with the whole "finding yourself" genre. However, I've seen enough of them to know that there are way, way worse ones than PARKER'S ANCHOR, which is, in fact, an involving, entertaining, and pleasantly feelgood example of it. 




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