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Review: ‘Elsewhere’ has indie spirit but lacks precision

Ken Jeong and Aden Young in the movie ‘Elsewhere’
Ken Jeong and Aden Young in the movie “Elsewhere.”
(Duane Prentice / NomadicVisions/Freestyle Digital Releasing Media)

With its indie dramedy classification, “Elsewhere” has the quirky feel of a film that would have been well received at Sundance in decades past — even down to the casting of festival favorite Parker Posey. In 2020, the English-language debut of Costa Rican writer-director Hernán Jiménez doesn’t appear as fresh, but solid performances from its good cast and an affection for its characters gives it more mileage.

Though it has been two years since the death of his wife, Bruno (Aden Young) is still mourning the loss of his love. When his former in-laws reclaim his house and evict him, he must move in with his parents (Jacki Weaver and Beau Bridges), but he can’t let the house go. He pretends to be a contractor to the home’s new tenant, Marie (Posey), so he can stay close to it, but he ends up forging a connection with its new owner as well.

In “Elsewhere,” Jiménez has made a humanist film that deals sensitively with the processes of grief and moving on. He demonstrates a generosity to each of the characters, from Bruno’s struggling widower to his supportive best friend (Ken Jeong), as well as a clear love for the location in woodsy British Columbia. Jiménez’s script is often charming and funny, but it lacks the precision and specificity that make the best films about sad-sack protagonists stand out.

‘Elsewhere’
Rating: R, for language, some sexual references and brief drug use

Running time: 1 hour, 38 minutes

Playing: Starts Jan. 24, Laemmle Royal, West Los Angeles; also on VOD
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