Director: Gillian Robespierre
Running Time: 97 minutes

This film had its final screening at The Nightlight on August 17, 2017.

An honestly told story about the messiness of human relationships. Set in the fall of 1995, a magical time when people kept all of their secrets on floppy discs.

Among its other virtues, Gillian Robespierre’s Landline is the rare movie that appreciates the difference between the pleasure of standing in the water and the satisfaction of soaking in it. The difference between trying someone on for size and swishing around in their dirt until your skin prunes and the water runs cold. Almost everything that a second feature should be, the film is bigger, richer, shaggier, and more satisfying than Robespierre’s Obvious Child, though obviously a product of the same irreverent imagination.

The Jacobs family, a foursome of upper-middle-class Manhattanites (remember when such a thing existed?), is beginning to suffer from stress fractures that are more immediately felt than seen. Landline refuses to be tethered to any particular character. On the contrary, Robespierre uses her most accessible conflict as a Trojan horse into the bigger shitstorm that’s brewing in plain sight.

Of course, the ’90s seem like a simpler time, and maybe they were, but life is never simple when you’re living through it. Landline may not be quite as funny as Obvious Child (it’s not really trying to be), but it feels every bit as authentic, and that’s doubly true when everything goes wrong and the characters are forced to deal with their consequences. There isn’t a single moment that doesn’t feel true.

~~ David Ehrlich,