Writer-director Kat Coiro follows up her romantic comedy "Life Happens," whose farce hinged on an unplanned pregnancy, with the sober drama "And While We Were Here," whose central conflict stems from a miscarriage. "Life's" Kate Bosworth stars as Jane, an uptight writer who dresses kind of frumpily for someone who claims to be the party and fashion reporter for Town & Country U.K. She accompanies her musician husband Leonard (Iddo Goldberg) on a business trip to Naples, where she intends to finish transcribing her grandmother's life story.
These tapes serve as the soundtrack to Jane's exploration of the sepia-hued city and the nearby island of Ischia, with its charming village, romantic ruins and glowing coast. Purportedly an interview, her grandmother's musings play instead like a stage play monologue, striking one of the film's few false notes.
Jane meets-cute Caleb (Jamie Blackley), a teenage expat, who rekindles in her a lust for passion and youth, forcing a confrontation in her domesticated relationship with Leonard, which has devolved into passive-aggression masked as affection. As her icy demeanor thaws, Jane discovers happiness again but also demands anger and grief from a husband who's handled their hardships with frustrating stoicism and understanding.
Their climactic argument hashes out some heavy stuff honestly and authentically, and it's to Coiro's credit that no one emerges as a villain — and that, however painful, on the other side lies hope.
"And While We Were Here"
MPAA rating: R for some sexual content, language and brief drug use
Running time: 1 hour, 24 minutes
Playing: Laemmle NoHo 7, North Hollywood. Also on VODCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times