Mark Reviews Movies

Golden Exits


2 Stars (out of 4)

Director: Alex Ross Perry

Cast: Emily Browning, Adam Horovitz, Mary-Louise Parker, Jason Schwartzman, Chloë Sevigny, Analeigh Tipton, Lily Rabe, Craig Butta

MPAA Rating: R (for some language and sexual references)

Running Time: 1:34

Release Date: 2/9/18 (limited)

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Capsule review by Mark Dujsik | February 15, 2018

Writer/director Alex Ross Perry has a lot on his mind with Golden Exits. It's a story about family, marriage, falling out of love, and disillusionment about the possibility of finding one's place in the world. We get a handful of characters who talk a good deal and a good game about such matters, but they can't seem to get their act straight when it comes to putting those words and thoughts into action.

That the movie possesses such characters isn't an issue. That it doesn't have much of a story isn't the problem. The real snag to Perry's study of intergenerational discontent is that it never finds the right balance between its characters.

We get a lot about Nick (Adam Horovitz), an archivist who's currently working on organizing the documents of his late father-in-law. His life is a dull one—working in a cramped office that's walking distance away from his home. He says he's content with his life, isolated to this tiny corner of the world, but if that were the case, maybe he wouldn't be eyeing his new assistant Naomi (Emily Browning) when she isn't looking.

Naomi, who's in New York via Australia on a work visa, is miserable enough, too, even though every other woman in the movie is jealous of her youth and potential in some way. That's the primary downfall of the movie as a whole here. Perry entices us with the potential of these characters, including Nick's therapist wife Alyssa (Chloë Sevigny), her divorced and business-minded sister Gwen (Mary-Louise Parker), and another wife named Jess (Analeigh Tipton), whose husband Buddy (Jason Schwartzman) has caught Naomi's eye. Perry never follows through on any of the potential of these characters, who—or in the cases of Alyssa and Jess—simply go to work or wait at home for their husbands or—in the case of Gwen—give Naomi advice about how to make the best of life.

We find these three women infinitely more intriguing than the routine-happy Nick, the tempted but decent Buddy, and the unknowable cypher that is Naomi. That might simply be a side effect of only slightly getting to know them, but the point still stands. Golden Exits is too selective in its focus to give us a full picture of these lives, these relationships, and this general sense of dissatisfaction with it all.

Copyright © 2018 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

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