We all know that first, and second wives, are natural-born enemies but small indie-drama The Rest of Us tells us that may not be the case. The directorial debut for Aisling Chin-Yee, The Rest of Us centres around Cami and her rebellious teenage daughter Aster, who both learn that ex-husband/father Craig has suddenly passed away, leaving behind his widowed second wife Rachel and her young daughter Tallulah. Since Craig kept his financial struggles a secret, Rachel and Tallulah are being evicted from their home, so Cami decides to invite them over to her house, and from there, personal feelings and emotions start brewing up to the surface.
Initially, it seems like a typical indie drama but actually proves to be a bit more than just that. It feels very stripped down, clocking in at just 77 minutes, and primarily focusing on just four characters. It feels more modest in its scope, and for the type of story, it’s trying to tell, that works well in this film’s favour. There’s emotional tension going on between these four women, and Chin-Lee manages to maintain our full attention as we slowly begin to learn and understand the characters’ emotional struggles.
It’s compelling to watch the women begin to bond and learn from each other, despite the strange and unfortunate circumstances they find themselves, and it’s especially fascinating to watch each woman bond and spend time with their respective daughter. There’s some slick cinematography from Daniel Grant, while the performances from the female quartet are impressively solid across the board, with Heather Graham especially giving one of her best performances to date.
The Rest of Us is a solid indie drama that provides a fascinating examination of a different, yet more unique, form of grief, and tells it in a way that’s scaled-down. In such a small package, it gives us solid performances and emotional complexity to make this one worth a watch.
Dir: Aisling Chin-Lee
Scr: Alanna Francis
Cast: Heather Graham, Jodi Balfour, Sophie Nélisse, Abigail Pniowsky
Prd: Emma Fleury, Katie Bird Nolan, Lindsay Tapscott, William Woods
DOP: Daniel Grant
Run time: 77 mins
The Rest of Us is available on digital from 23rd March