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Performances drive apocalyptic drama 'Astraea'

Performances drive apocalyptic drama 'Astraea'
Jessica Cummings in the movie "Astraea." (Jean-Marc Joseph)

A tiny microcosm of society crops up in the wintry woods of Maine in wake of an apocalyptic illness that has decimated humanity in the drama "Astraea," directed by Kristjan Thor, written by Ashlin Halfnight. Siblings Matthew (Scotty Crowe) and Astraea (Nerea Duhart) are en route on foot to Nova Scotia, guided by Astraea's psychic visions of her grandmother and younger brother. When they come upon a couple, James (Dan O'Brien) and Callie (Jessie Cummings), living in an old family home, comfort and human connection beckon.

Initially prickly, the four soon let their guards down and allow relationships to blossom. The older three strive to take care of teenage Astraea, who has been burdened with the visions of her family members' health and whereabouts since the world-ending events. While she is focused on those far away, the others are caught up in the drama unfolding in front of them during their collective cabin fever.

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Limited in its geography to the house and its surroundings, "Astraea" is a performance-driven piece, with a methodical and measured sense of plot and pace. There are a few story threads left hanging, but ultimately, the film is a thoughtful rumination on the far-reaching tentacles of grief, and the crucial importance of asserting humanity that persists in the face of devastation.

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'Astraea'

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Playing: Arena Cinelounge at the Montalban Theatre, Hollywood

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