Sustained violence has thrown the Mosher family into cycles of abuse, with the consequences more and more crippling for each successive generation. Don Mosher is an introverted Vietnam veteran/victim; his wife Dottie a loving doormat; their eldest daughter Donna a middle-aged pixie who always picks the wrong man; and her daughters Daneal and Desiree, a young mother and an opinionated, fractured, young teen.
The environs of their upstate New York existence look pleasant enough, and there are suburban scenes of trees and bustling brooks, but as Desiree explains, amidst a graffiti-covered playground, her hometown is too dirty. The valley they live in, hinged on the productivity of a gun factory—as noted by Donna—provides further complexity to a working-class family’s position on the war.
Each member of the family, including Don’s estranged Wiccan sister Denise, speaks to the camera in frank eloquence about their fears, hopes, and confused past. The Moshers' shared regret and resignation is laid bare with stark beauty. Ultimately, they are not left with much hope.
Their candid and touching introspection is poetically relayed by unseen family member Donal Mosher and co-director Michael Palmieri. Smoked-filled kitchens in early light and Walmart parking lots are filmed with a deft eye, and the everyday objects of modern life hold your interest in each shot.
I found October Country to be almost punishingly compelling at moments—unfortunate revelations are dispensed throughout the film—and though it only has an 80-minute run time, it felt surprisingly long. Shot over the course of a year, the film lingers in real time.
*Nadia missed a day yesterday due to a mixup.