Reel Shorts | Stockholm, Pennsylvania


stockholm-pennsylvaniaA young woman, abducted as a child, rejoins her birth family and the awkward realization that occurs as she discovers that she finds herself in between a proverbial rock and a hard place in the often unsettling and complex drama, Stockholm, Pennsylvania.

Kidnapped and kept in a basement with no view for almost twenty years, Leia, formerly Lee Ann (the brilliant Saoirse Ronan) has been rescued and returned back to the loving and eager arms of her birth parents, Marcy (Cynthia Nixon) and Glen (David Warshofsky).

Exposed to new and different people for the first time in her life, Leia is overwhelmed by everything and everybody. Not comfortable in her new surroundings, her mind constantly drifts back to the sparse normalcy of a life in captivity with charming Ben (Jason Issac), the only father she has ever known.

While the community and her family continue to demonize Ben, Leia fights to hold on to bond with and please Marcy at the same time. The stress put on her by Marcy’s desperate attempt to reconnect begin to strain their relationship.

Ronan, who has excelled in these roles in the past in films such as Hanna and Atonement. Her turn as an emotionally-stunted woman/child is perfect as an unattached observer watching everyone project their desires on her.

Writer/director Nikole Beckwith’s screenplay creates a perplexing and complex dilemma: what happens when a character is taken out of a physical prison and placed in an emotional one. What happens when a person “over loves” another? She takes the audience on a thrill ride that when it reaches its conclusion delivers one final gut punch to punctuate its point.

Nixon is great as the mother so eager for her child to love her that she undertakes almost ridiculous methods that are sure to shock and amaze. It will be interesting if she generates any awards buzz later in the year because certainly deserves it.

Trapped between two worlds, Leia is destined to live her life as an emotional nomad and the fact that her world has been shattered is one of the saddest aspects of Stockholm, Pennsylvania, Beckwith’s troubling lobe letter to dysfunction!

Grade: B+