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“Hello Lonesome” does a good job of portraying loneliness on the screen, but that’s where its accomplishments end.
Most of its lonesome characters aren’t very interesting, and the ones who are never get examined with any dramatic depth or understanding. The film is the kind of downer only a festival programmer would love.
Essentially, three short stories get tied together by writer-producer-director-cinematographer Adam Reid, with nothing uniting them other than the theme of loneliness and a washed-out color palette. It’s not even clear whether these characters live within proximity of one another.
A successful voice-over artist (real-life voice-over actor Harry Chase) seldom leaves his luxurious country house, so he is able report to work at a home studio in his underwear. One gathers he has been a stinker in his past life because his wife is long gone and a daughter never returns his increasingly plaintive phone calls. His only human connection seems to be with a delivery guy (Kamel Boutros), with whom he trades good-natured insults.
Meanwhile, an aging widow (Lynn Cohen) is forced to give up driving because of her deteriorating eyesight. So she must rely on a dour, low-key neighbor (James Urbaniak). He’s at least 30 years her junior, but this story insists on being a romance of sorts. One really wishes it had gone in a different direction.
Finally, in the one genuinely interesting story, a young couple (Nate Smith and Sabrina Lloyd) meet online, immediately take to each other sexually, and then she discovers she is gravely ill.
Reid has a personal connection to the latter story because it happened to his late sister.
Perhaps as a consequence, this tale has resonance. One wishes he had skipped the other dull tales to concentrate more on developing this one, which as it stands wastes too much time with the male character watching TV sports and gambling online.
The acting throughout is a little too pointed, a little too on-the-money, in every episode. Reid apparently didn’t trust his script — or his actors — to let things speak for themselves. Endings are generally flat, which only adds to the dreariness.
Tech credits are OK on what clearly is a limited budget.
Venue: Los Angeles Film Festival
Production: Flycolor Films in association with Northern Lights
Cast: Sabrina Lloyd, James Urbaniak, Lynn Cohen, Harry Chase, Nate Smith, Kamel Boutros
Director/screenwriter/producer/director of photography: Adam Reid
Executive producers: David Gioiella, Mark Littman
Music: Ted Gannon
Editor: Scott Rankin
No rating, 93 minutes
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