Actor Paul Dano makes an impressive directorial debut with this elegant 1960s-set melodrama, an adaptation of the Richard Ford novel starring Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal as a couple on the rocks.
Housewife Jeanette (Mulligan) and golf assistant Jerry (Gyllenhaal) want nothing more than to be a picture-book happy American family. But when Jerry loses his job - and his pride and purpose with it - he decides to go and fight the wild fires raging in the nearby mountains, leaving Jeanette and their teenage son Joe behind. In his absence, the edges of Jeanette's identity become singed, and Joe's life spirals as he watches his mother tear up her cheery housewife persona, reveals a different persona, and struggle to keep her head above water.
Gorgeously performed and stuffed with beautiful production design and cinematography, this is a poetic coming of age tale of heartbreak, silence, and the terrifying realisation that your parents are only human.