Jodie Foster’s Nell might describe Dandelion‘s characters as tays een da ween. It’s amid rolling fields of grass that a dandelion blows apart and Mason Mullich (Vincent Kartheiser), for reasons unknown, thinks about blowing out his brains. It could be because the film’s landscape is scaled by one-too-many walking clichés: Mason’s mother (Mare Winningham) is a caricature of denial waiting to explode, his dad (Arliss Howard) a cartoon receptacle of alpha dad-isms, and his friends refugees from a trailer-trash Afterschool Special (existing only to convey the precious notion that it’s hard out there for a dandelion, Taryn Manning shines in a shit part). The fuzzy storytelling is all wispy teenage angst, with Mason going to juvee for a crime his father committed. When he returns, the cocooning martyr simply mopes around, burning holes into everyone’s consciousness with his Michael Pitt eyes. Supplying the film’s universe of Hallmarkian grief and forgiveness is a preposterous dose of my-life-as-bird symbolism and purty Tim Orr cinematography, all underscored by the lo-fi fuzz of a soundtrack that features Sparklehorse’s lovely “It’s A Wonderful Life” on constant rotation. Like any unpronounceable Sigur Rós album, it’s an alternately transfixing and ridiculous world, but also very scary, especially during any given shot of a gently flowing field of barley, from which you half expect Sting to rise and sing a song.
- Ruth Pictures
- 93 min
- Mark Milgard
- Mark Milgard, Richard Murphy, Robb Williamson
- Vincent Kartheiser, Taryn Manning, Arliss Howard, Mare Winningham, Blake Heron, Michelle Forbes, Robert Blanche, Shawn Reaves
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