He’s married with a wife and a teenage daughter, but is Guy Pearce’s high-school music teacher settling for less than he wanted?
The smiles in a family photo don’t betray his unease, but undercurrents of frustrated ambition in his life come to the surface when the upstate New York household hosts an English exchange student (Felicity Jones), a fascinating young lady with creative issues of her own.
Director Drake Doremus trusts his cast to improvise their dialogue within an agreed scenario, and the results are certainly alert and nuanced, creating a subtly believable set of relationships as the stakes mount. With Pearce sensing in the youthful visitor an artistic soulmate very different from his home-maker spouse (Amy Ryan), it’s time to put priorities on the line in this intimate, beautifully rendered chamber drama from a director to watch. (Notes by Trevor Johnston.)