Heartland: Late Bloomers
Famous actress brings the funny in this indie dramedy.
For Heartland Film Festival schedule and tickets, please click here.
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I was mostly interested in “Late Bloomers” due to the presence of star Karen Gillan. She’s a lovely and talented actress who’s been value added to a slew of megablockbusters including entries to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the rejiggered “Jumanji” franchise. It’s surprising to see a performer as famous as Gillan in a film as small as this, but when the material’s this good you can certainly see the appeal.
Gillan stars as Louise, a 28-year-old Brooklyn woman who’s having trouble getting over a failed relationship. She drinks too much, works too little (she claims to be a musician, but rarely if ever sings or plays her guitar) and often succeeds in annoying her moneyed roommate Brick (Jermaine Fowler, late of “The Blackening”).
After a particularly rowdy bender Louise falls, breaks her hip and winds up sharing a hospital room with Antonina (Malgorzata Zajaczkowska). Antonina is an elderly Polish immigrant who doesn’t speak English … in spite of this the women manage to not get along.
When Louise begins physical therapy who should she run into other than Antonina? The younger woman inadvertently kidnaps the older woman, which understandably upsets Antonina’s grown granddaughter Sylvia (Michelle Twarowska). Sylvia can plainly see that Louise has little going on and therefore offers her a job as Antonina’s caretaker. In developing a relationship with Antonina Louise opens herself up to reconnecting with her mother Dorothy (Talia Balsam) and father Al (Kevin Nealon) and possibly making a romantic connection with Brick.
“Late Bloomers” is the feature debut of director Lisa Steen and actress-turned-screenwriter Anna Greenfield. The women acquit themselves nicely as the picture is brimming with humor and heart. Gillan somehow makes the somewhat unlikable Louise likable through the sheer force of charisma. I knew Gillan had the ability to be funny from prior turns in the MCU and “Jumanji” flicks and she certainly reinforces this idea here. She’s ably supported by Zajaczkowska (giving a physically reactive performance to Gillan’s character’s hijinks) and Fowler (his Brick is sweetly appealing), who play well opposite her.
I laughed a lot. I cried a little. Gillan’s Louise hangs out in a diaper. What’s not to like?