Title: Landing Up
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Director: Daniel Tenenbaum
Cast: Stacey Maltin, E’Dena Hines, Ben Rappaport
Runtime: 96 minutes
What It Is: A glimpse into the needs and fears that come from trying to survive in the streets. Chrissie (Stacey Maltin) avoiding the worse, offers the bad in order to exist beyond her reality. She meets Ben (Ben Rappaport) who gives her hope of a “normal life”, and pursues him while hiding the truth.
What We Think: I want to note it’s not the originality or the realism of the film that holds it back from greatness. The storyline touches on a daily subject that is hardly focused on in films, if at all, and even seldom more is the focus despite the estimated 500,000 homeless in the United States. It strips off the glamour Hollywood tries to give to its homeless hero’s (Think the Soloist) allowing us to see the true desperation Chrissie (Maltin) feels surviving in the streets. Maltin does an amazing job of not playing Chrissie as a martyr, but a survivor determined to escape a tragic life. Chrissie’s friend Cece (E’Dena Hines) subplot line of her intertwined relationship with mentally struggling James (Dov Tiefenbach) allows privileged audiences a glimpse into the maddening pull of drug addiction, and its stronghold. Unfortunately 2/3 of the way into letting us into its world, the film hits bumps, dropping plot lines and rushing the film. It’s almost as if they had run out of film, whilst editing the last bits of pieces just to confuse the audience. The movie ends in a fairy tale but without gallant battle Chrissie deserves.
Our Grade: B, I found myself so invested in Chrissie’s life that I was left almost bitter by the abrupt ending. The loose threads seem almost unfair, especially considering confirmation either way may have (and should have) affected the audience’s understanding. As a film that breaks the norms in a way that has potential to prove we deserve better stories, it just didn’t bring that memorable punch it deserves.