Lymelife (15) *** Directed by: Derick Martini Starring: Rory Culkin, Alec Baldwin, Cynthia Nixon, Timothy Hutton
TAKING its cues from The Ice Storm, this 1979-set US indie drama revolves around neighbouring suburban families whose idyllic-from-the-outside lives are falling apart thanks to marital infidelity and the corrosive disappointment that surfaces when life doesn't turn out quite the way people plan.
The latter is explicated via some typically blunt indie movie symbolism: a key character suffers from Lyme disease, allowing for some clunky dialogue about small things having a debilitating impact on your future.
That's a message that bullied 15-year-old Scott Bartlett (Rory Culkin) is clearly meant to take to heart as he becomes aware of the tensions between his mother (Jill Hennessy) and his developer dad (Alec Baldwin). The latter is boffing next-door neighbour and employee Melissa Bragg (Cynthia Nixon), whose husband (Timothy Hutton) is the aforementioned Lyme disease sufferer, and daughter, Adrianna (Emma Roberts), is the long-term object of Scott's tormented affections.
Debut director Derek Martini displays confidence, coaxing performances from his cast that keep the potentially overheated story in check. A needlessly melodramatic finale and some anachronistic period details (Falklands War references three years early) let the film down.