Review: ‘Road Within’ is a bumpy trip through personal challenges
Misfits set off on a life-changing road trip in Gren Wells’ “The Road Within”: There’s Vincent (Robert Sheehan), a young man with severe Tourette’s syndrome, sent to a treatment facility after his mother’s death; anorexic Marie (Zoe Kravitz); and Alex (Dev Patel), a Brit with crippling obsessive-compulsive disorder.
The group makes a break in a “borrowed” vehicle with the vague idea of heading toward the ocean to spread Vincent’s mother’s ashes. In pursuit are the center’s therapist (Kyra Sedgwick) and Vincent’s hard-line father (Robert Patrick).
The initial moments on the road are rocky and stressful, as Alex and Vincent constantly trigger each other. We witness much shouting and ruckus before the characters settle down and relax into a groove, embracing each other as they are, tics and all.
Marie, unfortunately, is a bit of a manic pixie dream girl character in the way that she functions within the story: the mysterious, laconic and broken girl defined only through our leading man and his desire to save her. As our hero, Vincent is positioned as inherently good and likable (the emerald-eyed Sheehan is a compelling presence), but he makes questionable choices and it’s hard to root for him sometimes. As OCD Alex, Patel is a standout, imbuing his character’s struggle and growth with humanity and depth.
“The Road Within” suffers from midfilm wandering and a hasty ending, but the message of self-acceptance rings true and clear.
“The Road Within”
MPAA rating: R for language, sexual content/nudity, drug use.
Running time: 1 hour, 41 minutes.
Playing: Laemmle’s NoHo 7, North Hollywood; Laemmle’s Music Hall 3, Beverly Hills.
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