I’ve always been a fan of using avoidance to cope with stress and adversity in life. It’s easy to do, and it allows you to get on with life until you’re ready to confront the real issues. Honestly, who’s ever ready for confrontation. But life goes on. Certain things in life are inevitable. Now, I can handle taxes. It just the other thing…
In Rebecca Weaver’s June Falling Down, Weaver plays titular character and aimless soul, June, who after the death of her father to cancer, pulled away both physically and emotionally from her family, friends, and life in her Wisconsin hometown. She found solace and nostalgia wandering through Europe following the same path her father took years before until ending up a struggling artist in San Francisco.
Coincidentally, on the one-year anniversary of her father’s passing, June returns home for the wedding of her best friend, Harley (Nick Hoover). At every turn, she is either reminded of the memory of her father, the town’s doctor or worse she’s forced to confront the friends and family she left behind.
“…after the death of her father to cancer, pulled away both physically and emotionally from her family…”
June Falling Down is a fascinating story about the different ways the loss of a parent, sibling, a spouse can affect a person. June’s mother Kathy (Claire Morkin) searched for “spiritual” answers by exploring alternative healing. Her brother Dave (Evan Board) turns to the ganja. But the film’s focus is squarely on June who literally put her life on hold for the past year and must face the ramifications of that decision.
Seething silently with envy, June’s biggest emotional loss comes in the form of best friend Harley, who filled the void left by June’s disappearance with his fiance Sarah (Joanna Becker). As good narcissists do, June subconsciously starts to sabotage Harley and Sarah’s wedding.
They say, “write what you know.” In the case of June Falling Down, I would hazard to guess that this very personal story for Rebecca Weaver, who took on the duties of writer, director, and lead actor. June’s story is pretty simple and straightforward, and as a writer, Weaver infuses her script with a great deal of insight about the grief and relationships into her narrative. The kind of insight that only a person who has gone through the process can adequately write about.
“…plays the subject matter with subtle self-realization, and therefore it comes off as authentic.”
As a performer, Weaver effectively carries the entire film as June is in virtually every minute of the film. She plays June as a real person. Each scene takes moments of casual conversation to establish relationships between characters and then eases us into the main point. At no time does June experience a heavy-handed-overly-emotional-eyes-balling-hyper-dramatic-realization of her problem, because that only happens in the movies. She plays the subject matter with subtle self-realization, and therefore it comes off as authentic.
On its own, June Falling Down is an excellent piece of filmmaking standing on its own. But we, Film Threat, love and champion independent filmmaking. June Falling Down rightfully deserves that love. Weaver shows that a good story can make the production’s very small budget go a long way.
Necessity often dictates that a filmmaker juggle every single ball in a production, June Falling Down was shot on an ultra-low budget and a two-person crew. Sure a few grand here and a few grand there could have paid for professional lighting and sound while doubling the crew. But not having these extras in no way penalizes the final product. Don’t let a small budget and limited resources keep you from telling your story.
June Falling Down (2018) Written and directed by Rebecca Weaver. Starring Rebecca Weaver, Nick Hoover, Claire Morkin, Evan Board, Steven Koehler, Justin Pahnturat.
8 out of 10 stars