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Daytrippers, The

Director: Greg Mottola


After touring the festival circuit for what seems like years, Greg Mottola’s wonderful comedy The Daytrippers is finally getting a release. This funny, compassionate movie is about a Long Island housewife, Eliza (Hope Davis), who discovers a suspicious note to her husband (Stanley Tucci). She thinks he’s having an affair and heads for Manhattan with her family to find out the truth. The movie concentrates on this family group, which includes Eliza’s domineering mother (Anne Meara) and her long-suffering father (Pat McNamara), along with rebellious kid sister Jo (Parker Posey) and Joe’s boyfriend Carl (Liev Schreiber), a would-be writer who insists on describing the novel in his head (It’s an allegory about spiritual survival in the contemporary world…It’s about a man who’s born with the head of a dog). As this ragtag group drives around Manhattan in search of the wayward husband, their day trip turns into a hairbrained odyssey.
Mottola’s film revels in quirky digressions, all of which serve to develop his theme of the near impossibility of authentic communications between people. A sardonic writer (Campbell Scott) who works with Eliza’s husband explains the significance of the note. It contains a quote from Marvell’s poem Definition of Love, with its image of him and his true love on opposite poles of the Earth, perfect but impossible.
The film’s humour is disarming and makes one unprepared for the wrenching emotional truths of the dark conclusion, which turns The Daytrippers from a gentle comedy into a delicate portrait of loneliness.

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