Landline: Sisters bond through Family Secrets and Lies

Jenny Slate and Abby Quinn in LANDLINE, an Amazon Studios release. Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios.

Landline takes us back to the 1990s as Obvious Child director Gillian Robespierre re-teams with writer/producer Elisabeth Holm, and actress Jenny Slate.

Directed by Robespierre from a screenplay by Elizabeth Holm and Gillian Robespierre, Landline stars Jenny Slate, Edie Falco, Abby Quinn, Jay Duplass, Finn Wittrock, and John Turturro.  Chicago native Gigi Pritzker is one of the produces for Odd Lot Entertainment.

Dana Jacobs recently became engaged to Ben (Duplass) and she finds herself dealing with her own fidelity issues thanks to Nate (Wittrock).  It’s younger sister Ali (Quinn) who starts to suspect that their ad-man/playwright father, Alan (Turturro), may be cheating on their mom, Pat (Falco), when she notices a number of files on a floppy drive.  Between Dana’s issues and Ali in the teenage rebellious stage, the two sisters are still able to bond even as they don’t tell what they believe is the truth to their mom.

The film opens with every member of the family dealing with something.  Alan is a failed playwright and his creative life just doesn’t feel very satisfying.  Pat has to deal with her career with the EPA and having to raise Ali.  Even though she’s engaged, Dana’s questioning her relationship to Ben.  Finally, Ali is hanging out in a scene that’s addicted to drugs and sex.

As the two sisters find out how messy love and sex can be, it’s the secret and lies that unite their Manhattan-based family even as the family dynamics change throughout the film.

“They all seem to be stuck in their designated family roles,” director Gillian Robespierre says of the Jacobs family. “Everyone’s trying to break free from them and find their own voice while living under one roof. But how do you do that when you’re unsure of who you are and communication has broken down?”

I was really hoping that Landline would have been just as impressive as Obvious Child.  The previous film which served as a breakout performance for Slate but the new film falls just a bit short.  Much in the same way that Slate impressed in Obvious Child, it’s newcomer Abby Quinn who shines brightly in Landline.  Still, it felt nostalgic we viewers went back to a time when landlines, pay phones, and the floppy disks were still in use.  Outside of businesses, landlines seem to be from another era in this day and age.

Amazon Studios and Magnolia Pictures initially opened Landline in New York and Los Angeles on July 21, 2017, before expanding to Chicago on July, 28, 2017, where the film will play at AMC River East, Regal Webster Place, and Arclight Chicago.  On August 4, 2017, the film will expand to AMC Village Crossing, AMC Yorktown, and AMC Northbrook Court 14.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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