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Movie Review: 'Another Happy Day' Starring Young Actor Ezra Miller

November 18, 2011

A sister, mother, wife and ex-wife, Lynn (Barkin) belongs to a badly shattered family, the sort of nasty bunch that has enough money and time to make one another miserable. They've been brought back together for the wedding of Dylan, her estranged oldest son (Michael Nardelli). The other option, I guess, would have been a funeral. With an ailing, aged father (George Kennedy), it's not out of the question.

It is a provocative if imperfect debut for writer-director Sam Levinson. He's second-generation Hollywood, the son of Barry ("Rain Man," "Good Morning, Vietnam," etc., etc.), who seems to have no involvement in the project. But if this low-budget indie is any indication, the younger Levinson's creative sensibilities appear to be darker than his dad's, the voice clearly his own.

Levinson quickly sets about kicking through all the emotional debris of a house divided by its pain and its past. Lynn's ex, Paul (Thomas Hayden Church), got custody of Dylan years ago in their bad breakup and raised him with his brassy, bitter new wife (Demi Moore, nearly spitting nails with every word she directs at Lynn). She took their troubled daughter Alice (Kate Bosworth), who cuts rather than cries and has built a new life that includes an overly steady (sedated?) husband, played by a glassy-eyed Jeffrey DeMunn, and two sons.

Though Barkin is the film's damaged spine, the boys give the film most of its backbone. Elliot, played by the exceptional rising talent Ezra Miller, who costars with Tilda Swinton in the upcoming "We Need to Talk About Kevin," is the older brother. Around 17 and just out of his latest stint in rehab, he has an intellect so keen and so unfiltered, his observations are able to bring just about anyone to their knees. Read More