2018 | 109 minutes | Rated NR
I was pleasantly surprised by Lynn Shelton’s latest, Outside In, filmed in suburban Granite Falls and Snohomish County, captured in all their rainy, tree-sheltered, moss-flecked glory. The subject matter is more urgent than Shelton’s usual fare: Outside In focuses on a subtext-heavy friendship between a high-school teacher, Carol (Edie Falco), and Chris (Jay Duplass), the 38-year-old former student she helped parole from the Walla Walla State Penitentiary after a 20-year sentence. As Chris, Duplass does some remarkable work with only his eyes and smile, under a beard so patchy, its mere existence triggers inscrutable sadness. Falco is great, per usual, as a conflicted, tightly wound woman in an Edith Wharton-grade bad marriage. And Outside In isn’t actually that far from a Wharton novel: It’s a completely believable web of conflicting desires among people who lack the language and wherewithal to ask for what they want. But stick with it, and Outside In’s relentless sadness gives way to something more gently hopeful than its numb beginning implies.
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