Relative Movie Review and Movie Synopsis (2022)
From this point, “Relative” finds its place and moves confidently through the rest of the story, most of which takes place during and after Benji’s graduation party, an event that makes the young man so uncomfortable that it disappears completely for hours. and does not return until he is practically ashamed of it. There are more than a few clunkers meant to set up the next scene or conversation (“So how does it feel to have a nearly half-empty nest?” “Was there a formative moment when you decided to be an actress?”) and sometimes Smith struggles to flow from one scene and into another as gracefully as one might wish (except for a 360 panning degrees through a collapsing house a few hours of screen time – a touch that is Scorsesean in his confidence).
In both setup and execution, the film often plays like a less polished, more fragmented attempt to do something like an American version of a film by British playwright Mike Leigh (“Secrets and Lies”), who liked to have a group of actors together, design characters and situations in conversations and workshops, then write a script from the best bits. I have no idea if that’s the method the filmmaker used here, but “Relative” has an equally spontaneous feeling. You think these people are part of a family harboring grievances and hiding secrets. They often speak in the hesitant, imprecise, reckless, and cruel way of real human beings. As the film enters its home stretch, it becomes a sub-genre of drama that I call “accidental radio”, which means that even if there are images, you may not see them not all because you cover your eyes a lot of time.
Showing in select theaters.