Set in the late 1970s in a lush Long Island, Lymelife may end up attracting more city slickers than expected.
This specialized release centering on suburban angst stars Alec Baldwin, Rory Culkin and Emma Roberts (Hotel for Dogs) and it benefits from its solid ensemble casting.
Co-written and directed by Derick Martini, it has an interesting perspective of the American Dream that may connect with discontented rustic denizens even more than the recent (too depressing, but sharply crafted and acted) Revolutionary Road. Both share similarity in some keen observation of marital dissection.
One gets a look at things through Culkin's naif Scott, an impressionable 15-year-old. In a relatively short running time, Martini displays many dynamics through a social and economic whirlwind.
The title may hone in to the possibly afflicted with Lyme disease Charlie (Timothy Hutton) who life has turned idle, much to the dismay of real-estate breadwinner wife Melissa (Cynthia Nixon of "Sex and the City"). His life is one of psychological disarray being fueled by medication.
Melissa turns to "bonding" with a workaholic neighbor, Baldwin's Mickey, and his waywardness justifies the ire of Mickey's passionate wife, acted by the long-absent from the big screen Jill Hennessy. It seemed like their marriage seemed like the ideal match.
Lymelife dramatically imparts the key element of change as the crux of the tale involves Roberts' Adrianna, the 16-year-old daughter of Melissa and Charlie, slowly warming to the infatuated Scott, whom she initially views as a "brother", who is the son of Brenda and the ambitious Mickey.
Hennessy and Nixon have their moments as the episodic nature of the proceedings also gets into the departure of Scott's older brother Jim (Kieran Culkin of Igby Goes Down) into the conflict in the Falkland Islands.
Martini works well with his crew, especially his lenser in capturing some striking naturalistic moments, in addition to augmenting the emotional ups and downs when it comes to family dysfunction. Some may wonder if the wives chose the correct mates based on their adaptation to their environments. But, it must be said that Culkin has matured since earlier films of his childhood like Signs to shade the bullied, sensitive Scott in ways that make him a sympathetic focal point.
Lymelife is a mobile film about lives under duress and getting chaotic, perhaps not very authentic in its premise and execution, but gets one into the time and place around the outset of the Iran hostage crisis.