Rated: Unrated
Genre: Drama
Directed By: D.J. Matrundola
Running Time: 20 Minutes
Review by: Felix Vasquez Jr.
Review Date: 1/4/07


Matrundola’s family road trip short is equivalent to something you’d find in an average Wes Anderson film. A disconnected woman who constantly boots boyfriends from her life is forced to re-unite with her brother, and estranged niece for the funeral of their mom, and suddenly we’re given family issues aplenty. Incest, divorce, bad parenting, it’s all here, and Matrundola pulls it off with finesse. The characters we see in “Estranged” are rather unlikable people, and that’s the intent. These people are obnoxious, they’re despicable, and often times shrill, and Matrundola paints them in that light while retaining the audiences sympathy and interest to see where it’s all headed.

Matrundola, and writer Simard creates the picture of family discord in a rather twisted manner showing our main character Chloe as a truly messy woman who can’t seem to find the right man. When her brother comes along to take her to their mom’s funeral, we suddenly discover that in rather disturbing manners. All the while we bear witness to these three people with unresolved issues of abandonment who have to be around one another whether they like it or not, and it works.  

“Estranged” sports some rather good performances from Freya Ravensbergen as Chloe the woman who just can’t find happiness, and Paul Burke as the put upon Julian. “Estranged” is an entertaining dysfunctional family short, with talent behind every inch of film, and I rather enjoyed it. We can’t all be the Brady’s.

Though, I admit the performance by Éléonore Lamothe is rather over the top and manages to stick out from the rest of Matrundola’s picture. She chews the scenery with her smart allecky adolescent character that is experiencing her own issues while being forced to confront these adults who are almost as twisted as she is. I just didn’t enjoy Lamothe, in all her stilted dialogue delivery, even when she served her purpose as a catalyst for the unfolding of events.

Matrundola's dyfunctional dramedy is an entertaining and pretty twisted piece of work with overall very good performances, an engaging story, and characters that are unlikable but oddly engaging to watch.



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