Rating: R (language and sexual references)
Length: 96 minutes
Release Date: September 14, 2012
Directed by: Jim Hemphill
Stars: 2 out of 5
“The Trouble with the Truth” is a highly emotive film directed by Jim Hemphill. Focused on two exes who may take a stab at a second chance together, the film delves into familiar territory that is often butchered on the big screen in romantic comedies. While seemingly a dangerous route to take, Hemphill manages to make the story work and creates an easygoing drama that allows viewers to escape into the world of two former partners.
John Shea stars as Robert, a cynical musician and artist who struggles with his lack of success and inner commitment issues. Work comes before all, as he repeatedly envelopes himself in the creative process. Life slips by as he remains focused on his work and loses sight of what is truly important in life.
Lea Thompson portrays Emily, Robert’s ex-wife and certainly his former better half. She’s endearing, honest, and a fascinating opposite to the stuffy and gruff Robert. Her fun personality seems to rub off on Robert throughout the film. Thompson fills the role with a fresh breeze that invigorates the audience’s attention in each scene.
Daughter Jenny (Danielle Harris) tells her father about her engagement over a meal, only to be disappointed by his unenthusiastic reaction. Robert is so engrossed in his work that he doesn’t even bother to look up at her while she tries to tell him the news. Upon seeing the ring, he is instantly disinterested and puts down the commitment involved in marriage, telling Jenny not to ruin her relationship by getting married.
The news of their daughter’s engagement creates sparks between the former couple. Surprisingly, the divorced pair are amicable, exploring their friendship and openly discussing their past relationship. Emily’s exuberance and honesty shines beyond the stifled nature of Robert, opening a new chapter in their relationship. From discussing past friends to innocently exploring their future endeavors, the pair rediscovers themselves by developing a new friendship, having honest discussions, and spending time together.
The intelligence and quality of the script are the foundations of the film. The writing is powerful and honest, replacing the frilly metaphors and lines typically used in previous dramas with real, raw dialogue. Brilliantly written and peppered with humor, the script is a refreshing spin on the tale of the what ifs that arise in a relationship. Nothing is forced, and the dialogue flows naturally, leading to realistic exchanges between cast members.
The film offers audiences an inside look at a divorced couple’s relationship, including the good, bad, and ugly sides. From fears to tears, the film exposes the intimate details of a torn relationship. The complicated state of the divorced duo is ripe with regret and leaves audiences puzzled as to what might become of the pair. As the film progresses, questions mount, and the excitement surrounding what might happen grows.
The casting of the film strengthens its appeal. Gone are the days of George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones lookalikes playing everyday men and women. While certainly attractive in their own right, John Shea and Lea Thompson seamlessly fill their roles without distracting viewers from the film’s message with overdone looks. They depict a regular pair dealing with their feelings rather than two ridiculously good-looking people simply plopped into a film to sell tickets. Shea and Thompson’s performances will leave audiences talking.
“The Trouble with the Truth” has a minor problem of its own. While the film is solid in many aspects, it lacks explosive scenes, including over-the-top scenes regularly used in today’s movies. This overall dryness in certain scenes leads to a dramatic movie that falls short on drama, which may lose the attention of some audience members. Unfortunately, audiences will not be left reeling from dramatic or hysterical exchanges, although the emotions portrayed in the film will leave hearts aflutter and minds thinking.
Despite lacking in some areas, the quality writing, casting, and emotional performances make watching “The Trouble with the Truth” worthwhile. The film is a solid piece that takes a step in the right direction, even if it’s just off the beaten path of today’s dramas.