Boundaries: A Pot-Dealing Family Road Trip

Left to right: Christopher Plummer as Jack and Vera Farmiga as Laura. Photo by Lindsay Elliott, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

Boundaries isn’t the typical family road trip as this one involves rescue animals and drug deals.

“Don’t Pick Up!” This is what Laura (Vera Farmiga) has opted to label the name on her phone for her father, Jack (Christopher Plummer).  It’s the type of relationship that the two of them have.  Or lack thereof if you will.  It’s a relationship that Laura opens up with to her therapist at the beginning of the film.  Laura is still upset about what he did during her childhood that it forces her to set up boundaries for herself.

Despite the issues that Laura may have with her dad, her son, Henry (Lewis MacDougall), is suffering from issues of his own.  The socially awkward kid has been bullied at school and is expelled when he punches a faculty member.  Naked drawings certainly don’t help on Henry’s end ether.  It’s at the point where Laura thinks her own son is “gay, socially awkward, brilliant, or all three.”

Laura needs to enroll Henry in a private school where he will be accepted for who he is.  This is where her father comes in handy–he has the money that she needs to finance the schooling.  Jack has just gotten evicted from the senior community home where he’s been living.  All Laura needs to do is drive Jack to Los Angeles to live with her sister, Jojo (Kristen Schaal).   It’s a win-win solution for both of them.  They just need to put up with each other for a few days.  Easier said than done!

The three of them head down in Jack’s Rolls-Royce with a number of stops along the way, including art forger Stanley (Christopher Lloyd), retired dealer Joey (Peter Fonda), and Henry’s dad, Leonard (Bobby Cannavale).  The large majority of these stops are for Jack to sell pot with Henry’s help.  It serves as an opportunity for the two to get to know each other.  All the while, Laura has no idea what the two of them are doing behind her back.  A few more stray animals join their ever-growing pack!

Say what you will about the film, it’s the animals that steal the show.  There’s something about these innocent animals that have an allure on people.  Laura hasn’t met a rescue or stray that she couldn’t turn down!  This says a lot about her character but also who director/screenwriter Shana Feste is as a person, too.

Road trip movies can be make-or-break due to the talents of their cast.  Put a dysfunctional family in the car for a few days and things can get feisty really quick.  What helps Boundaries is Vera Farmiga and Christopher Plummer.  The interaction between the two of them help sell their relationship with each other.  It’s fun to watch these two interact on screen.  Plummer may be approaching 90 years old but the Oscar winner can still turn in a superb performance.  One of his best moments on screen comes opposite Bobby Cannavale.

A road trip film that’s fun to watch, Boundaries is aided by a couple of four-legged friends.

CAST:  Vera Farmiga, Christopher Plummer, Lewis MacDougall, Bobby Cannavale, Kristen Schaal, Dolly Wells, Yahya Abdul-Mateen, with Christopher Lloyd and Peter Fonda

Following the world premiere at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival in the Headliners program, Sony Pictures Classics opened Boundaries in select theaters on June 22, 2018 with a theatrical expansion to follow.

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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