LORELEI: AN ALLURING CONSTRUCT
Lorelei, the siren of myth, emerges from the depths to tempt unwilling sailors into the brine. Like much of folklore, these tales have some basis in truth.
Wayland, an ex-con just out of prison returns home to discover his high school girlfriend, Dolores, still lives there; still loves him. Both had shared a dream of leaving their dreary, working class town for California.
She has had three children, by different lovers, whom she has raised alone. Until this point, a self-help group at a local church has been her sanctuary. Will the now grown lovers be able to resume their relationship and have a future?
Jena Malone (The Hunger Games) and Pablo Schreiber (The Wire), give impassioned performances, with Schreiber's Wayland slowly evolving, taking the road less traveled. Malone's Lorelei has been static for so long that she has been unable to move forward, for herself and her kids.
Lorelei (2020), directed and written by Sabrina Doyle (her debut feature), endears due to three children--each unique and endearing--that surprise, often without saying a word. What happens to them becomes front and center, the romance less so. The fate of the two misfits, loses importance as the movie unfurls.
The young performers, Chancellor Perry (Dodger Blue), Amelia Borgerding (Periwinkle Blue) and Parker Pascoe-Sheppard (Denim Blue) demonstrate instinctive acting and restraint beyond their years. Two of their characters have their feet firmly planted, with one, Denim, being the only youngster who struggles to maintain her innocence. The adults, on the other hand, seem to be directionless by comparison.
Writer Doyle inserts dream sequences (hence the descriptor "fable") involving Dolores's a.k.a. the titular character, Lorelei, from the opening to the closing credits. These and flashbacks should help to illuminate the story, the two adults are featured in these sequences, but the symbolic water scenes sometimes confuse, particularly at the conclusion.
As a drama, Lorelei works in the unexpected parental relationship that develops; the unknown future of the children and the unwavering single-mindedness of Dolores. The means may not justify the end; but the story, the realism, makes the viewer care.
Unrated. Profanity, sex and unchecked anger.
Earlier reviews not seen on this website (before May 20, 2021) are available on https://www.rottentomatoes.com/critic/wendy-shreve/movies or my previous blog site, featuringfilm.com
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