Marrow

The second feature from Seattle filmmaker Matt Wilkins is, like his 2004 Buffalo Bill's Defunct, about the frailty of human bodies, minds beset by age and stress, and the strains on a family whose equilibrium is upset. Marrow, however, is more visually resonant and emotionally rich—in every way more accomplished. Centered on one household, almost to the exclusion of the outside world, it focuses on the fraught relationship between single mother Frances (Frances Hearn) and her often exasperatingly rude and surly son Wiley (Wiley Wilkins, the director's son). Meanwhile, the shadow of Frances' recently deceased father haunts the house through her hazy memories. The unsettling authenticity of untidy lives and frayed nerves is remarkable, if not exactly commercial (Marrow had its premiere at SIFF last year). Wilkins is at his best churning up the volatile emotional space in scenes that rise and fall unexpectedly and authentically. Parents, certainly, will relate to Wiley and Frances' many arguments over hygiene and housekeeping. But no matter how they bicker, groping through disappointment and anger, there are genuine moments of connection and love. (NR) SEAN AXMAKER

Tue., Jan. 24, 8 p.m.; Wed., Jan. 25, 8 p.m., 2012

 
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