RESURRECTION movie poster | ©2022 IFC Films

RESURRECTION movie poster | ©2022 IFC Films

Rating: Not Rated
Stars: Rebecca Hall, Grace Kaufman, Michael Esper, Tim Roth
Writer: Andrew Semans
Director: Andrew Semans
Distributor: IFC Films
Release Date: July 29, 2022

RESURRECTION’s title doesn’t really prepare the viewer for what the film is about. To be fair, it’s hard to immediately think of a title that could. Indeed, without getting into spoilers, it’s hard to explain why RESURRECTION has a storyline with specifics we haven’t seen before.

Here’s the set-up. Margaret (Rebecca Hall) is a successful executive at a biotech corporation. She is protective – maybe a bit too much – of her daughter Abbie (Grace Kaufman), who is about to turn eighteen and head off to college.

Mother and daughter live in a lovely condo in a pleasant, leafy section of Albany, NY. Margaret is having a relaxed affair with married co-worker Peter (Michael Esper).

So, all is more or less well until Margaret catches sight of David Moore (Tim Roth). David is Margaret’s ex. She hasn’t seen him in twenty-two years, and she’s clearly terrified of him.

We will learn exactly what happened between Margaret and David about half an hour into RESURRECTION. After that, little more can be said without tipping where things are going.

Hall is never less than riveting, even when we wish Margaret might handle things differently. The performer gives her character an intensity that convinces us that Margaret might do absolutely anything in pursuit of what she believes is the right outcome.

Roth does an expert job of keeping the plates spinning as David, so that we’re seldom sure of what he truly means and what he simply means to present.

Kaufman is entirely believable as an adolescent looking forward to independence, who begins to understandably fear that her mother is unwell.

Writer/director Andrew Semans gives us beauty and order, seediness and sweat, overlapping so that we empathize with Margaret’s sense of dislocation. The filmmaker also keeps us guessing for quite a long time.

However, by the end, it’s unclear if we’re meant to take RESURRECTION literally or as a metaphor. (The final shot seems intended to provoke this question.) It seems as though if it’s meant to be literal, we need just a bit more mythological underpinning. If it’s a metaphor, that opens the door to loads of questions, not the least of which is, what exactly are we meant to get out of this?

Either way, there are some logic problems with Margaret’s behavior that seem more designed for narrative convenience than for relatability.

At the risk of belaboring the issue, RESURRECTION’s possible messages can’t be parsed without spoiling it. In this respect, it is a film designed for post-viewing discussion rather than review.

No matter what one makes of RESURRECTION, hats off to filmmaker Semans for a novel premise.

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