Thursday, April 22, 2021

All Those Small Things - SIFF 2021 Movie Review

The Movie: All Those Small Things

The Director: Andrew Hyatt

The Cast: James Faulkner, Kerry Knuppe, Aaron Dalla Villa, Gloria Laino, Lacy Hartselle, Cliff Parisi, David Robb, Nigel Betts, Jim Meskimen, Andrew Bicknell, Obadiah Freeman

The Story: Longtime British game show host, Jonathan Robbins, finds himself questioning his mortality and legacy after the recent death of a close friend. When he comes across an unexpected letter from a young fan, he heads to rural Spokane, WA in search of deeper meaning for his life.

The Review:
This is the type of movie that makes me realize I have turned a few pages during this book of life as I can really relate to the story which is about assessing your accomplishments in life and has it been a worthwhile journey. At first the movie was kind of silly and seemed like it was going to be just like a million other movies we've seen before, but once director Andrew Hyatt is done introducing the characters and setting the stage, he really digs in and creates a very thoughtful and heartwarming story.

Leading the way in front of the camera of course is the one and only James Faulkner, as British game show host Jonathan Robbins, who most will know from his work in either Game of Thrones or Downton Abbey although his career actually dates back to the early 70's. I feel like he was the absolute perfect person to play this character for many reasons and he seems to really understand exactly what to do with the role. There is an obvious fish out of water story on the surface but the story is much more than that and ends up being more of a journey of discovery and revelation who we are and how we perceive people around us.

Kerry Knuppe and Aaron Dalla Villa each play very distinct supporting roles with Dalla Villa providing a lot of comic relief as a big band rap hip hop artist. If you don't know what that means, it's okay just watch the movie and you'll figure it out. The entire cast is really pretty great with solid performances across the board and some of the best moments come from the interactions between Faulkner and Gloria Laino who plays a character that Robbins stumbles across during his journey to discover self worth.

I feel like it's also important to note that this movie is primarily set in Spokane Washington which if you don't know where that is, I guess it's about as far from Seattle as you can be and still be in the same state. Sports fans will note that it is nearby the campuses of both WSU and Gonzaga so there's a bit of reference. Being from Washington and having visited Spokane a few times, it was nice to see some familiar landscapes and locations and the type of scenic backdrops you don't often see in most movies.

The Verdict:
All Those Small Things has all the things I enjoy about watching small, indie films and features a big performance from leading actor James Faulkner. Director Andrew Hyatt has filled his story with some important life lessons and a lot of heart. Definitely worth a look.

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