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The Things We Carry Movie Review - The Key to Moving Forward Lies In The Past

By Jerod Williams

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THE THINGS WE CARRY was an official selection in the BOSTON FILM FESTIVAL, HOLLYWOOD FILM FESTIVAL and the SAN DIEGO ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL

THE THINGS WE CARRY is a fact-based movie about free-spirited Emmie ( Alyssa Lobit) who’s forced to deal with painful memories after receiving news about her mother’s death.  The immensity of the film is told in flashbacks through her point of view and it is through her memories that the audience can visualize how her relationship with her family evolves.

Jeremiah (Johnny Whitworth) and Emmie (Alyssa Lobit) travel through the underbelly of Los Angeles in THE THINGS WE CARRY

The film begins with Emmie in the surroundings she has fashioned for herself.  A life filled with boundless independence, freedom and adventure.  However, the idealistic life of parties and travels come to a screeching halt when she receives a letter from a guy named Ricky about a mysterious package her mother left behind and an email from her sister.  It is at that moment when a conflicted Emmie makes the conscious choice to go home to deal with the life that stifled her for so long and make peace with it.  Director Ian McCrudden along with the writer and star of the movie Alyssa Lobit takes you on an extraordinary journey filled with revelations, truths and consequences.

Emmie (Alyssa Lobit) conveys the pain she felt growing up with a drug-addicted mother in THE THINGS WE CARRY

What was impressive about this film was how each event unfolded and never disturbed the fluidity.  Even though, the film wafted back and forth between the past and the present, the journey remained intact.  The filmmakers provided the audience with subtle, yet powerful scenes for the audience to think and draw their own interpretation about what happened in the Roberts household that tore this family apart.  It wasn’t until scenes with the sisters meeting up for the first time since their mother’s death was when this tale truly began. 

Eve (Catherine Kresge) and Emmie (Alyssa Lobit) rekindle their sisterly bond in the drama THE THINGS WE CARRY

Alyssa Lobit (Emmie) and Catherine Kresge (Eve) did a wonderful job portraying the two sisters who dealt with their mother’s “sickness” in different ways that ultimately drove them to make life-altering decisions.  Lobit’s understated and nuanced performance was what drove this film.  Key moments that stand out were mainly the flashback scenes with her mother, Sunny as well as the people she interacted with while searching for her mom’s mystery package.  

Emmie (Alyssa Lobit) embraces her memories of the past in THE THINGS WE CARRY

The supporting cast brought a wonderful balance of humor and intensity.  Leslie and Kim (played by Daniel Zacapa and Ilene Graff, respectively) were standouts as they lightened up this heavy drama with their humor and their love for Sunny.  Johnny Whitworth was also noteworthy as the street-smart Jeremiah who helped Emmie on her journey and along the way they made a connection that allowed our protagonist to delve deeper into her psyche and flesh out more childhood memories.  The standout in this film would have to be Emmie and Eve’s mom, Sunny (played beautifully by Alexis Rhee).  In each scene, Rhee owned her role as the unconventional mother whose addiction ultimately drove a wedge between her daughters.  She was the vehicle that fueled Emmie’s rage and Eve’s frustration.  Kudos to the writer and the director for fleshing out Sunny through flashbacks to make the audience understand just how much her addiction destroyed this family and also affected every character in this film.

Sunny's (Alexis Rhee) addiction was the forefront of the film THE THINGS WE CARRY

Overall, the film is an excellent piece of cinema told in a brutally honest undertone.  The message conveyed here is that a majority of us have crosses to bear and things in our past that have been buried.  What have we learned from THE THINGS WE CARRY?  No matter what spiritual journey one goes through in life, making peace with the past will make for a brighter future.

Kim (Ilene Graff) is one of the many colorful characters Emmie encounters on her quest in THE THINGS WE CARRY

Starring Alyssa Lobit, Catherine Kresge, Alexis Rhee, Johnny Whitworth, Daniel Zacapa, Ilene Graff, Frank Merino and  Rob Moran

The film was directed by Ian McCrudden and produced by Athena Lobit

It was also an Official Section in the Boston Film Festival, San Diego Asian Film Festival, Wild Rose Independent Film Festival and most recently, the Hollywood Film Festival.  For more information about THE THINGS WE CARRY, visit their website at (http://www.thethingswecarry.com).

Photos and property are courtesy of THE THINGS WE CARRY, LLC

 

Published on Oct 26, 2009

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