Cinema Clips: Landline

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A young woman (Abby Quinn) discovers that her dad, Alan (John Turturro), might be having an affair after spying some strange poetry on their desktop in the mid-nineties.

Director Gillian Robespierre also reunites with her Obvious Child star Jenny Slate who plays Turturro’s older daughter, having relationship problems of her own with Ben (Jay Duplass). Edie Falco rounds out the family dynamic as Pat, Alan’s generally annoyed (and very entertaining) wife.

Robespierre might be working with some Hollywood clichés here within the realm of fidelity and teen angst, but she and the cast make it all seem fresh. The film uses its nineties setting in a subtle way that qualifies it as a period piece (floppy discs, trench coats) without hitting you over the head with details.

All of the cast is good, but it’s Slate that really shines, continuing showing the world that Saturday Night Live made a big mistake dismissing her after one season due to that single curse word during her series debut. She’s an actress of great range, and Robespierre has now gotten two terrific performances out of her. Turturro and Falco are the old pros, and they make for a convincing, troubled yet in love couple. Relative newcomer Quinn holds her own with the group, playing a teen intelligent beyond her years, yet pretty stupid at the same time.

When the movie ends, you find yourself missing the characters, the mark of a truly good ensemble piece.

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