Before You Know It

Two sisters discover their long lost mother in this pleasant family comedy. Many of the usual tropes are layered into the plot: the daughters are rather off-kilter, opposites and co-dependent, their Dad is a tortured playwright and the long lost Mom is a soap opera star.

All of that provides much fodder for the cast. Mandy Patinkin takes a busker’s holiday from his hard edged Saul on “Homeland”but departs this mortal coil too early in the film. He leverages well his usual understated presence in the few scenes he has.

The daughters (Hannah Pearl Utt and Jenn Tullock) are left holding the bag, figuratively, with Dad’s unproduced play and his confusing will still to be resolved. The way off off Broadway stage on which they planned on launching the play becomes tied up in probate, so when the daughters realize that their dead mother is very much alive the plot begins to gain momentum.

The scene when the daughters (as extras on a soap opera) discover their very-much-alive mother is the best moment in the film. Judith Light plays the mother with aplomb, she was equally delightful in TV’s“Transparent.”

Alec Baldwin walks easily through his short time onscreen, his role as a befuddled husband was not much of a stretch.

The look of the film is very authentic; the New York City setting provides myriad realistic scenes.

Utt and Tullock are very comfortable in their roles, most likely because they co-wrote the script. They have a great showdown toward the end. In addition, Utt pulled the whole thing together as director of the film.

At Sundance “Before You Know It”was given many kudos, undoubtedly because of its easy to digest demeanor.


Brad Auerbach has been covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.

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