- READER REVIEWS
Small, Beautifully Moving Parts
(No longer in theaters)
Annie J. Howell, Lisa Robinson, Jennifer Dougherty
May 11, 2012
Annie Howell and Lisa Robinson’s Small, Beautifully Moving Parts feels more like a young adult’s overeager memoir, but its protagonist is sufficiently irrational to keep you intrigued. Pregnant (in her second trimester) Sarah Sparks (Anna Margaret Hollyman) jets to California to visit her sister and father, and to track down her reclusive mom, from whom she has been estranged for many years and who has let it be known that she’s not up for a visit. Sarah persists, driving east into the Arizona desert, maintaining she wants advice from her abandoning mother on—get this—motherhood. The title has something to do with the fetus inside her as well as her fascination with modern gizmos meant to bring us closer to one another: cell phones, Skype, a talking GPS, video baby monitors. It’s not a surprise when she learns that no technology, no New Age mantra, not even an f2f can bridge the abyss between a hurting child and a terminally narcissistic parent. The film would be better if it were gentler. It’s broadly written and played, the actors too busy telegraphing their characters’ emotions to let us contemplate their faces in peace. All the world might be a stage, but onscreen it’s increasingly mumblecore.