Eric Swinderman, Carmen DeFranco
I didn't expect a lot from this film going in and in truth? I don't even know why I had such low expectations. With that written, however, as I'm sure you've guessed by my rating - I was way off base. "The Enormity of Life" ended up being not just a good movie, but an exceptional one. Perhaps because many aspects of this flick hit close to home, I could easily relate but no matter how you slice it, for those who ask? This movie is highly recommended. "The Enormity of Life" is indie film done right - no question.
The spoiler-free quick synopsis? After a lucky break, quite literally, thwarts a man's attempt to commit suicide, life finally decides to begin mixing in some good things - to balance out some of the previous chaos. The man, Casey, inherits some money from a relative he didn't really know, and shortly after, he meets potential love interest Jess and her daughter Jules. The relationship between the three, as you would expect, begins to grow as Casey brings Jess into his hectic life and vice versa. Casey's family dynamic is then explored and used as a tool to get the potential couple together, while daughter Jules acts as a catalyst to really cement a new, budding relationship. But the real meat and potatoes of this film are so much more than the cliche love story most are expecting. In fact, "The Enormity of Life" uses its obvious stereotypical plot more as a tool to tell the real story, which is infinitely more complex. "The Enormity of Life" will probably hit different people in different ways, but for me, the easiest way to sum things up is using a quote from the movie itself, "Be bigger than the moment."
Eric Swinderman's film is definitely a well-written, well-acted, and nicely executed one. I particularly enjoyed how it flirted with some really dark comedy while maintaining its often serious and sometimes sad tone. I loved so many of the little things in this film, such as the Law & Order joke, that I couldn't even begin to touch on them all. But what I do know, and touched on above, is that many moving parts in this movie will call out differently to different people. That's a good thing.
Personally, I found that Swinderman's film was more about mental trauma than anything else. All of the notable characters have suffered, or are suffering from, some form of mental illness stemming from past experiences. Casey's family is, well, messed up and as a result, it's implied that Casey is as well. Jess's daughter Jules is suffering from something akin to PTSD, and even supporting characters like the lawyer in the film seem to have issues of their own. For Jess, her life seems to be somewhat of a mess for mostly unknown reasons, but my point is that nobody is untouched by something they are carrying around in their heads. "The Enormity of Life" is a love letter to mental illness and how people try to deal and get by - and as a film, it works like a charm. Even the ending, which drove me nuts, by the way, oozes reality in the sense that some people can become just too far gone to save completely. Life is not always a happy party, and this film reminds us of that.
At the end of the day, this was a film I would recommend to anyone looking for something a little different - anyone who enjoys a good drama with some comedic elements. What got to me was that "The Enormity of Life" didn't sugar-coat itself and was a great reminder of just how deep pain can bury itself. This is some serious stuff with some dark comedy to balance things out - and I was thankful for that. As for my rating? Any movie, big-budget, or indie that can shake around my emotions a little deserves what it deserves. In this case, four and a half stars.