Directors/writers: Annie Howell and Lisa Robinson
Cast: Anna Margaret Hollyman, Richard Hoag, Andre Holland, and Mary Beth Peil
Rated: Not rated (some language)
Original release date: 2011
Film is distributed by Film Movement | IMDb | Trailer
Small, Beautifully Moving Parts is dubbed as a “coming of parenthood tale for the internet age” which had me drawn in from the get go. Take two of my favorite things: coming-of-age dramedies and technology, and you can’t miss. Gladly, Parts combines both attributes perfectly and makes for a charming little surprise of a film this year.
The film follows a young woman named Sarah Sparks (a breakout role for Anna Margaret Hollyman) who discovers that she’s pregnant along with boyfriend Leon (Andre Holland). Leon couldn’t be more excited about the news, but Sarah’s feelings are less apparent than her interest in the different gadgets in the doctor’s examination room.
Sarah is a very lovable and relevant character with some nerdy appeal. She reflects today’s techno-savvy independent woman wrapped in a cute and quirky package. She is a socially relevant and much needed female heroine, much like Lisbeth Salander (except without, you know, all of the violence). Sarah is what really drew me into the film and kept me watching all the way as I welcomed such a fresh and interesting character, a breath of fresh air for today’s films.
The story, while not reinventing the genre as much as the main character, is heartfelt and honest. It follows Sarah as she goes on a journey in search of answers, most importantly from her own estranged mother. She ventures out alone in a mini van in search of her “off the grid” mother. Along the way she meets up with a few characters, from her equally techno-loving father to Leon’s pseudo free spirit sister. The trip is full of some great road and desert shots that fit the mood of each step of the adventure perfectly.
All of the characters are well written and likable in their own way. You get a certain feeling when watching a movie such as this, which compares drastically to the feeling when watching a Hollywood dramedy. The film is funny, but doesn’t rely on jokes or punchlines. It’s funny, as it is heartwarming, because of the situations and how the characters interact. It’s that slice of life aspect that I love about these types of films and I certainly got that feeling with Small, Beautifully Moving Parts.
The filmmakers did a great job of doing what they set out to do with as little nonsense as possible. The film never has a dull or boring moment, which road-themed movies can often fall victim to. One need not be interested in parenthood to enjoy this flick, but only be interested in real and sometimes zany characters finding some answers in their lives.