Temperatures are up, sandals are out, and multiplexes are crowded — though variety’s not really the name of the game, since the aim seems to be getting this week’s Designated Blockbuster onto as many screens as possible. But occasionally, tucked away on the smallest screen, or across town in the art house, you’ll find a release from the relentless commerce of the summer movie parade, and this June finds several fine independent pictures providing an alternative to the guns, bombs, and superheroes of the season.
The Big Ask
Release Date: Out now (in theaters and on demand)
Directors: Thomas Beatty, Rebecca Fishman
Cast: David Krumholtz, Melanie Lynskey, Gillian Jacobs, Jason Ritter
Beatty (also the film’s writer) and Fishman assemble a top-notch ensemble cast for this comedy/drama, which takes a high concept — three couples assemble for a week in the middle of nowhere for a week-long vacation, made awkward by a rather unorthodox proposal — and takes it seriously, capturing the peculiarity of these strained interactions as well as the uncomfortable neediness of depression. Krumholtz is terrific and Jacobs is wonderful (as ever), but the standout is Lynskey, who grounds the odd narrative by beautifully conveying a character who is helplessly watching someone she cares about slip right through her fingers.