DVD Review: Boundaries (2018)

By , Contributor
New to DVD from Sony Pictures Classics is the quirky, character-driven Boundaries. The film, written and directed by Shana Feste, had a very limited theatrical release over the summer, but its superb cast will likely draw a much bigger audience on home video. Consider this: Oscar-nominee Vera Farmiga stars as flustered single-parent Laura, Oscar-winner (and overall Hollywood legend) Christopher Plummer plays her dad, the pot-addled Jack. The supporting cast includes Bobby Cannavale, Christopher Lloyd, and Peter Fonda.

Apparently some ill-considered politically-motivated Tweet by Fonda prior to the film's release led to silly calls for a boycott. If you're sensitive to what Mr. Fonda tweeted, that's fine. But rest assured the actor has what amounts to a cameo appearance in Boundaries. The idea that all the participants here should be punished by ignoring the film outright is patently ludicrous.

At any rate, Feste (who last directed the rather execrable 2014 Endless Love remake) has crafted a semi-autobiographical dramedy with a big heart. It's a minor film, but that doesn't mean its not worth seeing. The ambling story concerns the journey undertaken by Laura and her teen son Henry (Lewis MacDougall, excellently understated) to deliver her aging, ailing father to her sister's house. Sister JoJo (Kristen Schaal) is prepared to take Jack in now that he is essentially homeless.

"With every road trip comes baggage," reads Boundaries' tagline, and that baggage—in the most literal terms, at least—happens to be the massive quantity of pot that Jack wants to traffic across state lines during their trip. He enlists Henry to assist, all unbeknownst to Laura. Along the way, several of Jack's colorful cohorts are encountered (Lloyd is particularly memorable). Oh, and Boundaries is also something of a "dog movie," in the sense that Laura is a total sucker for strays. Canine cuteness is laced in, but never in a cloying manner.

This isn't the kind of movie that'll leave you speechless with amazement. But it's gently funny and often thoughtful. The best moments involve Jack, Laura, and Henry's various interactions—not the least due to incisive performances by Plummer, Farmiga, and MacDougall. Bobby Cannavale is terrific too, in the more minor role of Henry's father/Laura's ex, Leonard. Easily recommended for those with a taste for oddball character pieces.

Sony's DVD includes a 'making of' featurette, "Setting Boundaries: A Look Behind the Scenes."
Boundaries DVD.jpg

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Chaz Lipp is a Las Vegas-based musician and freelance writer. His new jazz album 'Good Merlin' is now available.

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