This week’s pick proves you can be angsty and uncertain at any age. And, despite it’s rockin’ cast, that’s about all it brings to the table for my taste. Still, Edie Falco is life.
The Land of Steady Habits (2018)
After leaving his wife and his job to find happiness, Anders befriends a drug-addicted teen, sending him down a path of reckless and shameful behaviour.
Anders (Ben Mendelsohn) has left his wife Helene (Edie Falco) and their son Preston (Thomas Mann) in favour of something better. What that something better is is anybody’s guess as it seems the happiness Anders was missing out on is nowhere to be found, even without his family standing in the way.
One night he appears at his wife’s annual Christmas party, which Helene co-hosts with her friend and neighbour Sophie (Elizabeth Marvel). Unimpressed by the company and still hung up on his wife, who is now happy with a new boyfriend, he stumbles across Sophie’s son Charlie and his buddies in the garden. Here he smokes a little weed with them and then he goes on his merry way. Later, he discovers Charlie has overdosed on PCP at the party and is now in hospital, stable but still under observation.
Drugs are a bit of a theme here as Anders’ son Preston has had his own experiences of rehab. Which might explain why he finds it hard to hold down a job and is somewhat irresponsible, despite all the effort his mother has put in to get him a good role at her firm. Meanwhile, Anders bonds with Charlie when he visits him in hospital and Charlie makes it clear that he looks up to him because he’s so unlike his own parents – and essentially acts like he doesn’t give a fuck.
Anders does give a fuck but is pretty aimless, especially now he’s retired, wandering between unsuccessful one night stands, falling behind on the mortgage payments on his wife’s house and keeping it secret from his family. When he meets Barbara (Connie Britton) in a strip club things start looking up, until he slags off her preferred reading material.
Preston fucks up at work and is booted out of the family home by his mother – while Charlie’s family get ready to send him to rehab following his overdose. On the night before he’s due to leave, he runs away with his pet turtle in tow and turns to his new hero Anders. Whether Anders is the right person to persuade him to do what’s right is left to be seen – particularly when they do more drugs together – but this isn’t the happiest tale, and both Preston and his father are about to learn one of life’s most brutal lessons.
Can Anders find the elusive happiness he’s been searching for? Will Preston sort it out before it’s too late?
Ugh. I mean this is technically a good looking, thought-provoking rumination on ageing – a coming-of-age tale for middle-age and I respect it for that but I just found it too ambling.
I really don’t think the women of the piece were given enough to do and maybe I think that because I was distracted. I wanted more for Edie and Connive, both magnificent actors who should have held my attention. I guess I don’t care or can’t relate to a middle-aged white man’s struggle to live his best life?
I really don’t have very much else to add. It means well, it’s not badly made or acted, it just didn’t raise any kind of feeling in me and it’s a shame.