Michael Justin Lee
Michael Justin Lee
In this film, Wendy Marlowe Miller, a small-town eccentric and self-proclaimed brilliant dramatist of the performing arts, finds herself walking a thin line with local authorities. Now on probation for a series of break-ins at a community theatre, she falls back on her deep-rooted passion for the works of William Shakespeare, acquiring three unlikely students along the way. Together they form a Shakespearean theatrical troupe willing to risk it all by staging their own production of "Hamlet" in one final attempt for Wendy to prove to the judge - and herself that all these years of obsession have not been wasted.
"Mere Oblivion" from writer and director Michael Justin Lee is based on a true story and is a visualized love letter to the performing arts - told through several characters who are each seeking a sense of their own self-identity. One thing is sure: the passion for the subject matter feels very sincere regarding both the direction and the performances. For that, I give an exuberant thumbs up.
The major distraction, however, comes from the music within "Mere Oblivion" itself, which I found to be very intrusive at times. Especially during some of the movie's most important scenes - I was never given a moment to breathe "with" the characters without my ear being directed towards an intended feeling. I'll admit, "Mere Oblivion" was a little sappy for "my" taste. However, I was still able to appreciate the movie as a whole with the help of a strong leading performance from Marlain Angelides - as well as solid turns from the supporting cast Jillian Geurts, Rebekah Madebach, and Justin Michael Lee.
When it's all said and done, despite an overused backing score, "Mere Oblivion" works on several levels while drawing focus to the sleeping powers that one may unlock within themselves should they ever find the courage to summon them. If this genre is more your cup of tea, you can't really go wrong, and even if it isn't, there's still plenty to enjoy here. A solid effort. Two and a half stars.