by Jef Burnham
Available on DVD and Blu-ray from Screen Media Films.
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A period piece set against the Lyme disease scare and turbulent real estate market of the late 1970s, Lymelife offers very compelling and very human characters as portrayed by an amazing ensemble cast (including Rory Culkin, Kieran Culkin, Alec Baldwin, Timothy Hutton, Jill Hennessey and Cynthia Nixon of Sex and the City). Lymelife is sometimes beautiful and often funny, but for all its successes, the film suffers from pacing problems and an insulting denouement that make it unfortunately less watchable than other films of its kind.
The film is based on the real-life childhood experiences of the film’s creators, Derick and Steven Martini, but you may find it striking how like The Ice Storm their childhoods were. Perhaps this can be viewed as a testament to the accuracy of Ang Lee’s representation of the ‘70s. Unfortunately, Lymelife is bogged down by an unnecessary number of scenes feels much longer than it actually is. I found myself wishing I had been watching The Ice Storm instead. That being said, the performances alone are enough to keep you riveted despite the films problems, and as a result, it is definitely worth a watch at least. Kieran Culkin, who has not appeared onscreen since his 2002 role in Igby Goes Down, is again a revelation and shines in his supporting role.
The DVD special features for Lymelife include 8 deleted scenes with optional commentary; an alternate ending, which curiously shows the last 15 minutes of the movie for the sake of 20 seconds of different material at the very end (also with optional commentary); and a feature-length commentary with the director and cast.
Jef Burnham is a writer and educator living in Chicago, Illinois. While waging war on mankind from a glass booth in the parking lot of a grocery store, Jef managed to earn a degree in Film & Video from Columbia College Chicago, and is now the Editor-in-Chief of FilmMonthly.com.
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