Clara’s Ghost, the feature directorial debut from writer-director Bridey Elliott, offers audiences an exaggerated glimpse into the lives of one of America’s most comedic families. The supernatural comedy makes for a solid first feature from the younger Elliott daughter as she makes her return to Sundance two years following the premiere of the short film, Affections.
Ted Reynolds (Chris Elliott) is a comedic actor and he’s worried that he is no longer as popular as he used to be. Ted just lost out on a job for a series produced by his future son-in-law for reasons that the film doesn’t get into until later. He’s married to Clara (Paula Niedart Elliott), a mostly invisible mother, and as the film starts, they are searching for a missing shoe that she bought at Marshall’s.
Ted and Clara’s two daughters, Julie (Abby Elliott) and Riley (Bridey Elliott), are former child stars and still get recognized for their work as the Sweet Sisters. It’s nine weeks before Julie gets married and there’s no way that the Reynolds are going to be ready for the affair. At the request of their parents, the two of them travel back home to their parents’ house for a photo shoot arranged by an airline magazine. At the same time of their trip, the family dog is celebrating a birthday and drug dealer Poo Poo (Haley Joel Osment) joins in on the festivities.
There’s a lot of drunken craziness that goes down, whether it’s Clara dancing to The Seekers’ “Georgy Girl” or drunk-calling a winery to tell them her thoughts regarding one of the wines that they have on sale. This bit has a nice payoff late in the film.
DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER: Bridey Elliott
CAST: Paula Niedert Elliott, Abby Elliott, Bridey Elliott, Chris Elliott, Isidora Goreshter, and Haley Joel Osment