AVA: A Twist In The Road Image

AVA: A Twist In The Road

By Andrew Stover | April 26, 2022

Catherane Skillen writes, directs, and stars in AVA: A Twist in the Road, an independent drama about a woman coping with an unexpected loss. The movie explores the themes of love, loss, and identity from the perspective of an older woman, ultimately making a powerful cautionary tale for people who are dependent on their partners for economic and emotional stability. 

Ava (Skillen) and Bobby (Bill Lewis) have been together for years. While their relationship isn’t perfect, with Ava longing to spend more time with Bobby, Ava is content with the life they built together. She drives a nice car, goes on trips all over, and the couple lives in a cozy condo. But her life revolves around Bobby and his schedule. She doesn’t have to worry about money because Bobby takes care of their finances.

But Bobby suddenly passes away, and Ava begins to re-evaluate her life. Additionally, she’s left destitute and directionless. Ava realizes that she may have made a mistake in relying on someone to take care of her.

AVA: A Twist in the Road is a sedate tale of a woman who has to rebuild her life after her partner passes away. Ava must find a job and discover what hobbies will make her happy. However, being out of the workforce for so long hurts her chances of a job interview. At the same time, she must endure the fury and rancor of Bob Jr. (Steve Dellatori), Bobby’s choleric son.

“…love, loss, and identity from the perspective of an older woman…”

Skillen writes Ava as a vulnerable and anxious person who mourns the loss of her partner. However, she gradually realizes that she didn’t have a voice in the relationship. From this point forward, she unveils her resilience and works toward building her self-confidence. So naturally, Ava goes from a timid, grieving woman to a strong-willed woman capable of contributing more to life. Her character progression throughout AVA: A Twist in the Road is not only credible but inspiring and well thought out.

Skillen’s performance is solid, nicely exhibiting the wave of emotions that wash over Ava as a result of her partner’s passing. Knowing that your life was tethered to your partner’s is a vexatious realization, one that could very well resonate with a person in the same position, which works in the film’s favor. While the supporting cast is less equipped to deliver the forceful dialogue convincingly, Skillen doesn’t try to conceal what the characters are feeling. In this case, the transparency strengthens the film’s ideas about independence and love.

On the downside, the film is muddled by off-putting dissolves, abrupt cuts, and unfocused camerawork. It could’ve benefitted from a clearer and more consistent visual look. Fortunately, the narrative is more focused. Admittedly, Ava and Bob Jr.’s feud is unneeded and takes you out of the story. But Skillen knows how to create situations that showcase how Ava has changed or is prepared to move on. For example, the film begins with Bobby giving Ava a beautiful bracelet, and it ends with her contemplating the fate of that same bracelet. Flashbacks provide a nice juxtaposition to how Ava perceived her relationship with Bobby in the past and how she sees it now.

Upheld by an intimate and truthful script, AVA: A Twist in the Road may not be the most nuanced or accomplished drama, but it makes for a wonderfully candid and uniquely hopeful cautionary tale.

AVA: A Twist in the Road (2022)

Directed and Written: Catherane Skillen

Starring: Catherane Skillen, Tannis Benedict, Bill Lewis, Steve Dellatori, Bill Lee Brown, Daniela Brown, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

AVA: A Twist in the Road  Image

"…wonderfully candid and uniquely hopeful..."

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