The Magnificent Meyersons is a family drama written and directed by Evan Oppenheimer. The ensemble cast includes Kate Mulgrew, Richard Kind, Ian Kahn, Jackie Burns, Daniel Eric Gold, Shoshannah Stern and Barbara Barrie.
S P O I L E R S
The Meyerson family from New York City deals with the ordinary concerns and annoyances that preoccupy all families. However, everything is suddenly upended when an unexpected guest comes to dinner, and the family must reevaluate everything.
This dialogue-driven film takes place over the course of a day and moves from character to character, delving into the intricacies of each Meyerson family member’s life. The narrative structure never quite follows the rules of engagement and rely heavily on the quality of the dialogue and the development of the characters in real time, to keep the viewer’s attention.
The film mostly succeeds due to the strength of the characterisation and the shared history the characters share with respect to the estrangement of the family patriarch, Morty (Kind). Through flashbacks, it is revealed that Morty had left his family for Oslo decades ago, for psychological reasons. Mulgrew (as the Meyerson matriarch) is at the top of her game, as usual, as she expressed traumatised strength throughout. The four Meyerson siblings are interesting in their own distinct way, the script does a good job in making each one distinctive.
The lack of the conventional narrative structure may drive viewers away if attention begins to sway. Perhaps this was the reason for the confirmation of the existence of alien life midway through the film. Seems so random initially but in hindsight, one could see that this red herring might keep some viewers hanging around. But those that did for that reason would be disappointing.
The Magnificent Meyersons is a brave, experimental indie that is worth the investment of time and emotion. Highly recommended.
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