VIRGINIA: SMALL FILM, BIG PERSONALITY
By Brian Bell
Virginia is a delightfully funny drama loosely based on the childhood of writer/director Dustin Lance Black (Milk, J. Edgar) growing up in the south. Starring Jennifer Connelly, beautiful as ever at forty, as Virginia, a single mother with schizophrenia trying to raise her teenage son Emmett ( a great performance by charming young actor Harrison Gilbertson) and find a way out of the small town they live in, no matter what the cost...
The film Virginia is an entertaining, sincere look at childhood in a dysfunctional household. “In the past, I’ve described my untraditional childhood to people and they’d say that it sounded so dark. I would tell them it was actually a lot of fun. I got to do a lot of things other children never got to do because the rules were so different.” said Black about his film. “I was raised by a single mother who was handicapped and we were on our own. The emotional crux of the film is based on that experience.”
The film is full of fun and quirky characters. Ed Harris plays the married mormon Sheriff Tipton, who has had a 20+ year affair with Virginia, and may or may not be the father of Virginia’s son Emmett. So naturally the Sheriff won’t allow Emmett near his daughter (Emma Roberts, Scream 4) with whom Emmett has a crush.
Amy Madigan (Harris’ wife in real life) gives a great perfomance as the Sheriffs very mormon wife. The small quirky actor by the name Toby Jones (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) is hilarious as Emmett’s boss.
Yeardley Smith (best know as the voice of Lisa Simpson) plays Virginia’s doctor. She has some of the film's best scenes, playing oppposite during Virginia’s outbursts and overall zaniness. The list of fantastic supporting actors goes on and on.
Another of the films noteworthy characters (if you will) is Virginia and Emmett’s home, with its plethora of colorful bottles lining the windows and walls. The daytime scenes inside the home often had an almost dreamlike appearance.
Virginia is a small film, big on personality. It’s an adult story about growing up, whether you are ready or not. It’s a sweet film that deals with complex relationships, showing that life is just as confusing for adults as it is children. With its cast all giving great performances, it’s totally worth seeing for anyone that doesn’t require explosions and gunshots to have a good time at the theater...although there are a few gunshots in the film, so really everyone should be able to enjoy this movie!
The film hits theaters, this Friday, May 18th. Watch the trailer here.