Veteran actress of such remarkable films as, ‘The Big Chill,’ and ‘Being John Malkovich,’ Mary Kay Place, plays the principle role of, Diane, a woman fighting off her demons before it’s too late, in this hyper-focused study of regret.
‘Diane’ is the sad tale of an older woman in a small Massachusetts town who’s trying everything in her power to make up for the person she was in the past. She spent most of her life, casting away those who loved her for own selfish needs and is now trying desperately to please them… if they let her and if they’ll agree to her terms. She now feels the pain of losing people she once thought disposable as those around her disappear by choice or because they’ve been snatched by the cold, hard grip of death. She is doing everything she can to make up for her mistakes but not everyone is open to her desire for absolution and not everyone forgets.
She commits a lot of her free time performing charitable work such as feeding the homeless at the shelter and offering help whenever and wherever it’s needed. She spends a considerable amount of her time visiting her cousin, Donna (O’Connell), who’s in the hospital. She has cervical cancer and, feeling guilty for having wronged her when they were young women, Diane gives her most of her a lot of attention. However, the person Diane wants to help even more is the one most impervious to her overtures of altruism and goodwill. Her son, Brian, chillingly played Jake Lacy (Miss Sloane, How to Be Single). Brian is a drug attic who gets rather nasty with his mother constantly inserting herself into his life. As you watch this relationship unfold, you realize it’s Diane who has always needed help, never received any and needs some now more than ever. She showers him with the attention she always craved yet spoiled what they could have had when she ran off with Donna’s boyfriend, leaving young Brian behind.
Produced by Martin Scorsese, written and directed by film critic and documentarian, Kent Jones (this is his first narrative feature film) ‘Diane’ was a shoo-in and ended up being a darling at the Tribeca Film Festival last year, where it won several awards. The film is a fascinating character study but not one to watch if you feel you are or are possibly on the verge of, depression. Jones purposely misleads with a timeline that’s all over the place, giving you the feeling of frustration and confusion on purpose. As those closest to her pass away, she reaches out to Brian more but then you see the real Diane on display. She draws a line in the sand when he and his new wife try to shove religion down her throat. Seems everyone has their limits. She feigns that all is well but losing him to religion is a war she knows she can’t win. Is it too late to win him back?
*In the Phoenix area, see this at Harkins Shea 14