Filmmaker Olivia Silver’s debut narrative is a rather interminable road movie that spends so long getting nowhere. A dysfunctional young family is forced by their father to suddenly move across country from New England to California. At dawn one morning he simply hustles them into his station wagon heading towards a new job and a new home with the promise that their absent mother, who is allegedly away visiting her sister, will join them out there later.
Nothing about this new development in their lives is clear to the three kids, although they suspect that their mother would hate this move as much as them. Their father with his short-fused temper is giving little away and any news that is revealed about what its going on here is from overheard snatches of his phone conversations during which he is always screaming at someone.
The story is seen through the eyes of 12 year old Greta, known as Griz, who although just starting puberty, still clings on tightly to Harrison, her stuffed rabbit. Although she is the middle sibling, she is the most sensitive one, and also the one who is desperate to know the truth of what is really happening. Sensitively played by veteran child actress Ryan Simpkins, Greta is clearly the best thing about this rather lack-lustre uneventful story.
Dad is played by the talented John Hawkes but he has been given very little here to get his teeth into. When he can finally prove that he is not the total liar his children believe him to be, its too little too late.
Most of the action takes place inside the car as it treks it way across the continent and the kids seem reluctantly resigned to their confinement. We really share their relief when this long journey is finally over.