EVE OF UNDERSTANDING (Alyson Shelton) Rating: NN Rating: NNNNN
You might say the Female Eye Film Festival opening-night movie is all about Eve.
After her mother, Eve, dies, Donna (Rebecca Lowman) carries out her request to distribute mementos and letters to various people in their lives. Among these are Eve's drunk old ex-husband (and Donna's father), Eve's evangelical sister and even some of Donna's friends, including ex-boyfriends and lovers. (How Eve knows about some of these is a mystery.)
At the beginning, Donna is a chain-smoking, caught-in-a-dead-end-relationship, alcoholic fuck-up. As she motors from Texas to Arizona (a trip that includes some nice, if repetitive, scenery), it soon becomes clear that her trip is meant to be a healing voyage of discovery. The title's a pun, get it?
As such, the premise and plot feel programmed. Some of the characters are way too broad - the religious sister, for instance. And others come across as too vague. A scene with Donna's brother, Michael, hints at incest, but writer/director Alyson Shelton doesn't explore it with any dramatic verve.
Worse, we never understand the relationship between Eve and Donna. I guess we should be grateful, though, that we're not subjected to flashbacks.
All of this would be unbearable without the sensitive lead performance by Naomi Watts-lookalike Lowman, who's very good at communicating disbelief and muffled anger.
Screens tonight (Thursday, June 15) at the NFB.