Melancholy melodrama in ‘Meadowland’

What greater horror story is there than two parents searching for their young child who has disappeared? “Meadowland” is about two such parents and how they each face the mystery of their child’s fate. Starring Olivia Wilde (“House, M.D.”) and Luke Wilson (“The Skeleton Twins”), “Meadowland” is the directorial debut of cinematographer Reed Morano and opens on Oct. 16. “Meadowland” will be available VoD on Oct. 23.

A New Jersey couple, Sarah and Phil, are on a road trip with their son when he makes a trip to the restroom at a small gas station and never returns. There is no sound, no trace, nothing. Moving forward in time, we see this couple re-emerging into their social lives. Yet not all is well.

Sarah and Phil do not speak to each other about their loss and they have sealed themselves off from each other.  Phil is sure their child is dead. Sarah steadfastly clings to the possibility that he is alive. Phil looks toward a group of others who are grieving like him. In the support-group, he finds a kindred soul and sympathetic ear in Pete (John Leguizamo).

Sarah looks for something more personal–she begins cutting herself, and more impersonal–infidelity with Joe (Kevin Corrigan).  Cutting is an idea she gets from a student. She also begins to have an obsessive interest in a young boy with Asperger’s (Ty Simpkins) who she feels is unloved at home and isolated from his peers.

Wilde’s Sarah is a woman lost in a world she wishes to remake as she tries to escape the reality that her husband is facing. There is chemistry between Wilde and Wilson that becomes deeper as this tragedy plays out. Chris Rossi’s script isn’t without problems, but we do eventually learn the fate of the child and as director Reed Morano captures a visual style that expresses the emotional progression of both Sarah and Phil. This is a heartbreak drama that announces the arrival of a promising new auteur director. “Meadowland” is rated R.




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