New American Cinema | 2016 | 93 minutes
SIFF Says:"The first big thing in your life you're never gonna get over" is how a friend of this film's title character describes the unexpected death of Dean's mother. For the rest of the film, Dean tries his best to do just that and finds that the grieving process is long and takes many unexpected detours. Dean, played by first-time director and deadpan standup comic Demetri Martin, is a Brooklyn-based graphic artist who is cut adrift by his mother's passing, spending much of his time doodling childlike drawings involving clever wordplay and the Grim Reaper. After dumping his fiancee and clashing with his father, Robert (Kevin Kline), who wants to move on quickly and sell the family house against Dean's wishes, Dean flees to Los Angeles, where he reluctantly works with a vapid marketing company that wants to use his artwork for an ad campaign. Though ill-suited for the L.A. lifestyle—or acting like a responsible adult—Dean meets Nicky (Gillian Jacobs), who gives him a reason to put down roots in Hollywood. Meanwhile, Robert begins to put his life back together after striking up a romance with his real-estate agent (Mary Steenburgen). With nods to other meandering romantic comedy classics like Annie Hall and Garden State, Dean is a clever, funny and insightful meditation on the various ways the human spirit processes loss and takes its time to seek new pathways toward acceptance.
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