Lorelei (2020) 

A man just released from prison stumbles upon his high school sweetheart and they pick up where they left off, just with a little more baggage. 

Written and directed by Sabrina Doyle, Lorelai is a film about love and struggle, about dreams, and about adjusting to what is possible. She takes elements that are dark and unhappy and manages to inbue some happiness, some lighter moments in something that seems quite hopeless at times. The relationship between the two leads and the addition of three children into the mix of a relationship that was not going to be easy from the start brings the story to a familiar place of struggles and attempts at making a reconstructed family work without any money and a bit of despair. Her work here is great in that she carefully builds the story, adding layers slowly and giving her characters a sense of reality. She also has the right balance between showing what she wants and not making fun of those who may be in similar situations. She never belittles or downplays the plight of her characters, letting them shine and evolve in an organic manner. 

The cast is a big part of why this film works so well. Pablo Schreiber and Jena Malone sell this film with great talent and plenty subtle nuances. Their characters show more than just the obvious through their acting and that is why the film works so well. Yes, they are rough around the edges type of character, but the way they are brought to life gives them so much more, they are given depth and emotions that are more than just the surface. Playing the three children in the middle of everything, all named after shades of blue, Chancellor Perry, Parker Pascoe-Sheppard, and Amelia Borgerding give performances that are emotional and mature in their own way. The kids are not annoying here, so it must be noted. They actually bring something to the story and are not just a tool to move the story in a direction, they are fully fleshed beings and the young actors playing them show a maturity in acting that is refreshing.  

The film takes full advantage of its Oregon setting and location with cinematography that shows the land and the weather of the area very well while also giving the characters a world to exist in and become more human. The look of the film is a bit on the grey skies side of things, but that works great for the story. The cinematography by Stephen Paar is perfect for what the film needs. The editing by Daniel Myers lingers just long enough when needed and moves on quickly when needed. The balance here works fantastically well. 

Lorelai is a bit of a fable, a bit of a fairytale, and a whole slice of life. It shows how struggle can affect some, how love can make them happy, and how a sudden change can both be great and scary, making some want to run away and others forced to stick around. Which is best, the film does not judge on.