The Trouble With The Truth (2011)
Director/ Writer: Jim Hemphill
Executive Producers: James W. Hemphill, Nancy Yudchitz
Producers: Daniel Farrands, Thommy Hutson
Cast: Lea Thompson, John Shea, Danielle Harris, Keri Lynn Pratt
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ out of 5
While attending the 2012 Sedona International Film Festival it was impossible to ignore the definite buzz in the air about Writer/ Director Jim Hemphill’s new film The Trouble with the Truth, which proved to be a bonafide crowd pleaser with this year’s festival attendees.
The film centers on divorced couple Robert (John Shea) and Emily (Lea Thompson), initially brought together to discuss their daughter’s impending nuptials. Throughout the course of one evening, (which includes dinner, desert and more than a few drinks), the former couple playfully revisit their differing ideas regarding love and career which, of course, eventually drives the conversation to the inevitable excavation of their failed marriage. By evening’s end their impromptu reunion will lead to a few surprises, a few confessions and, yes, even a few tears.
Given the film is basically a continuing conversation, with limited locations and lots of over the shoulder shots, obvious comparisons have been made to that other flick involving a dining duo, My Dinner with Andre, but where that classic film deals in matters mostly cerebral, Hemphill’s sharp and funny screenplay is all heart and, as a result, is a much warmer, intimate and personal film. If …Andre is a “thinking” person’s movie, The Trouble with the Truth is for the “feeling”, and proves to be an honest and thought provoking debate between the heart and the head.
When you’ve got a film that involves a lot more talk than action, casting is a make or break proposition, first and foremost, we need to like them, which I am happy to report we do, quite a bit.
We grow to like Robert quickly, due in large part to John Shea’s handling of Hemphill’s often blunt and hilarious dialog, the actor’s years of experience on film, and more specifically the stage, serves him and the film quite well.
Lea Thompson as Emily, however, is the real surprise. The actresses’ instant like-ability has been the cornerstone of her long and successful career for the last two decades, where the adjectives “cute” and “suburban” have been exhausted by writers with little imagination, but this time around Thompson is given an opportunity to play a modern woman who is perhaps a little deeper, a little more cultured and a lot more eloquent than we’ve seen from her previous roles and the result is nothing short of a revelation. Her performance is both funny and heartbreaking, often simultaneously, and stays with you long after the credits have rolled.
The many talents of relative newcomer Jim Hemphill are on full display with his brilliant, quotable dialog and thoughtful instincts as a director. The premiss alone, in lesser hands, might have easily degenerated into bad drama and worn out cliche’s, but the Director/ Writer deftly avoids the obvious traps at all costs and delivers a smart, funny and engaging film. Hemphill is definitely one to keep an eye!
Though it is still quite early, The Trouble with the Truth is, by far and away, the best indie I’ve seen this year. I can only hope a distribution deal is coming soon so that you all will have the opportunity to enjoy this one for yourselves.