By Joanna Langfield

This beautifully acted drama leaves its mark. Quiet and unflinchingly honest, this is not a movie about superheroes. But, then again, maybe it is.

Jennifer Lawrence and Brian Tyree Henry play shattered people, each somehow trying to put their pieces back together. Meeting almost accidentally, the two form a complicated but essential relationship, not just helping one another to get through the New Orleans steamy nights, but face the tragedies that have left them, literally and figuratively, crippled.

Somehow, director Lila Neugebauer has created an impactful piece that carries us along in its own pace. Reportedly, the production was shut down during the pandemic and was much delayed after that. Still, she strings together comprehensive, memorable scenes that not only tell us the story, but remind us that power, for good and not so, is in the details.

 There is lovely work from some of my favorite supporting veterans: Jayne Houdyshell, Linda Emond, Russell Harvard and Stephen McKinley Henderson. But the subtle magic comes from the intentionally toned down Lawrence and her brilliant partner, Henry. You can feel the intention and care Lawrence carries for her soldier, recovering from a traumatic brain injury suffered while fighting in Afghanistan. And, as we all yearn for her to succeed, we fall under the spell Henry, once again, casts as a man, haunted by his own mistakes on the domestic front. Almost wordlessly, he breaks our hearts and makes us ache for the salvation he, like so many others, is almost afraid to ask for. Theirs are performances that are not just compelling, but impactful, introducing us to people we hope we never will be, but also who we can’t help but root for.

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