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Florida Film Festival review: Be Good

April 5, 2013



Sometimes, a filmmaker’s earnest attempt to capture the mundanity of real life backfires. Too much off-the-cuff dialogue, snippets of banal conversation and casual interaction between actors can make scenes that should feel effortless seem strained. Scenes that should be played as simple and direct instead come off as scripted and predictable. The plot drags on, and then, when the film does finally veer off course a little – away from the dull and toward the dramatic – the effect is more confusing than exciting.

Those are the kinds of problems that plague Be Good, a narrative feature about the difficulties of modern parenthood. New mom Mary just wants to stay home and care for her 6-month-old daughter, Pearl, but her husband, Paul, is an unemployed screenwriter. So she goes back to work while Paul learns to balance being a stay-at-home dad with the pursuit of his barely there career.

Little murmurings of intimate conversation and familiar bickering between Paul and Mary should make the couple seem intertwined in their frustrations and alienation – instead, their interactions are more like those of poorly matched college roommates who hold grudges than of a struggling couple trying to navigate the troubled waters of work, child-rearing and unrealized dreams. –