THE TROUBLE WITH THE TRUTH
Winning Edge Partners Productions
Rated R, 4 stars
Can your best friend also be your worst enemy? Quite possibly when it comes to relationships, according to film critic turned filmmaker Jimmy Hemphill, in his sweet and sour, conversation driven dinner date movie, The Trouble With The Truth. A rare cinematic feast for the ears as much as the eyes, the back to basics bristling, sitdown drama says a whole lot more about thwarted love and deferred desire, than all those films filled with sweaty marathon sexual acrobatics.
The Trouble With The Truth stars Lea Thompson, John Shea, a waiter, a barmaid and not much more, as a long estranged divorced couple awkwardly reunites for dinner following the engagement of their only child, adult daughter Jenny (Danielle Harris). Emily (Lea Thompson), a fabulously successful novelist since moving on long ago from her perpetually struggling jazz musician ex-husband Robert (John Shea), is now married to a wealthy lawyer.
At first, Emily and Robert also seem to have settled into a distant but congenial post-marital ‘let’s just be friends’ agreement. But especially when factoring in stifled, lingering resentments and bruised feelings that fueled the split in the first place, such understandings rarely are.
And as the booze laden evening wears on over elegant servings of steak and salmon respectively for Emily and Robert (an early red flag kicking in, and pointing to differences regarding meat consumption slyly hinting at their incompatibility), so do the tensions heighten. And that reawaken suppressed bitterness and longing in equal measure.
And coming to light as the dinner progresses through a menu of mixed emotions accompanying the journey from main course to dessert, is that Emily left a stormy relationship with Robert, who cared more for his art than providing financial security or even monogamous fidelity for his wife. And though her new husband fulfills all those expectations for her, she may have actually always loved Robert more as a soul mate for life. But simply settled for a second marriage containing every matrimonial wish list item imaginable, save for the most important one.
Or as Emily confesses uncontrollably and clearly under the influence, ‘nobody knows the story of my life like you do.’ And though Robert may feel the same way but is less likely to say so, each of them has emotionally abandoned the other for a love that takes priority – Robert for his music and in the case of Emily, the safety of a dull but secure marriage. As the film unfolds, exploring between bites the messy ingredients of a failed but not necessarily futile romance.
So will these lovers mend their broken relationship and reconcile? Only the director knows for sure. Which is, when delicately re-imagining life and its nuances on the big screen with all the inherent harsh, raw, honest and troubling truths while bypassing those hackneyed happy endings, the way it should be.