Lymelife (2009)

Alec Baldwin and Timmothy Hutton lead  a stellar cast in Derick Martini’s directoral debut, Lymelife. Lymelife takes place in Long Island in the 70’s and is the coming of age story of a 15 year old boy, Scott Bartlett, played perfectly by Rory Culkin, who is becoming a man and learning how to deal with the realization that his parents, Mickey Bartlett (Baldwin) and Brenda Bartlett (Jill Hennessy), have been living in a loveless marriage for years. All this, while the town worries about lyme disease that is spreading through the community.

The movie focuses on Scott and how the world he knows is changing around him. Scott looks up to both his father, Mickey, and his older brother, Jimmy (Kieran Culkin), who has just returned home early from the army. Scott also develops a crush on the girl next door, Adrianna Bragg (Emma Roberts), but unfortunately for Scott, Adrianna only dates older guys.

Mickey is a real estate agent developing a more modern and affordable housing community in Long Island. Mickey is excited about the idea of the future in his ultra-modern housing, while his wife, Brenda, longs for their old life in Queens.

 Working with Mickey is Adrianna’s mother, Melissa (Cynthia Nixon). Melissa’s husband, Charlie, is the only known person we encounter that is suffering from lyme disease. Melissa and Charlie’s marriage seems to be on the rocks as Melissa has a not-so-secret affair and Charlie struggles to find a new job while battling the disease.

During this time Scott and Adrianna begin to become closer, as Scott learns new things about himself and his family. Scott realizes that his parents and brother aren’t as perfect as he thought them to be and that they’re humans with flaws, just like everyone else.

The first thing that stands out when you see this film is the acting. While both Rory Culking and Emma Roberts give performances that are way beyond their years, Baldwin and Hutton really steal the show in this one. Baldwin puts on an amazing show in what is absolutely the best peformance of his career. In the past, I never really liked Baldwin, but as of late he is really starting to grow on me. He has perfected playing jerk-like characters, but he does it in a way that even though you know he is a jerk, you don’t dislike him. With his display in Lymelife, Baldwin shows that he is at the top of his game, and one of the best at his craft.

Equally, if not more impressive, is the role played by Timmothy Hutton. While I can’t say this is Hutton’s best performance (because he was brilliant in Ordinary People), he does put on a fantastic show as Charlie Bragg, the one man in town (that we know of) suffering from lyme disease. Whereas another actor may have been overdramatic in this role, or not dramatic enough, Hutton knows exactly when to be dramatic and when to play it simple, and he did it to perfection in this film.

I love movies that don’t really give you an ending, they sort of toss it up in the air and let you decide, and that’s exactly what this movie has. Now I know many hate endings like this, but I believe it makes the film more enjoyable and rewatchable and keeps you talking and discussing about what really happend. This ending does exactly that. If you want to see a movie with a perfect script, a perfect cast, a perfect debut by a director, and an ending that will keep you talking for days, then I highly suggest you go see Lymelife. And after you see it, go see it again, and again, and again, and again.

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