Pearl Diver (review)
Here’s a rare treat for anyone looking to be surprised by a movie. This festival favorite is a gentle tale of two sisters (Joey Honsa and Amy Jean Johnson) haunted by the murder of their mother when they were children, and how another trauma brings them to a new understanding of each other, and each woman of herself. What’s startling about it is that these women are deeply principled in ways that I don’t agree with and don’t understand to a large degree — one woman, and her husband, are utterly unwilling to fight a wrong done them, even when it would benefit their child greatly to do so — and yet they are here such fully realized human beings that I appreciate them anyway. Written and directed by first-time filmmaker Sidney King, the film suffers in places from its microbudget — some of the supporting performances are less than polished — but it creates such an extraordinary connection that it must be celebrated. For so many movies that are designed to appeal to the “faith and values” crowd — this is not an overtly religious movie, but it’s in the undertone — end up being smugly exclusionary, as if one narrow set of values were the only valid ones. But this bridges that divide, and doesn’t pretend to have any answers to great moral dilemmas except for these particular individuals in their particular situation. Deleted scenes and “thoughts from the director” are also included on the disc.