Often writers miss this point too. Some writers can be so hung up on the words on the page that they forget that acting is both physical as it is verbal. Writer Bethany understands this and wisely puts her trust in her actors.
The film’s leads, Jaclyn Bethany, Rosie Day, and Brandon Sklenar, know what their characters need to do in each scene, resulting in subtle but powerful performances. You’d expect Jaclyn Bethany to know this as she’s the writer/director. She also carries the emotional weight of the film. She nails Isabella’s story as a person trying to regain her bearings from rehab, and now becomes the ultimate third wheel on her sister’s honeymoon, where, of course, old family s**t comes to the surface.
“…leans heavily on acting and not only how dialogue is delivered, but also in the physical performances as well.”
As much as I appreciate the performances, I did feel a great deal of frustration at the start. The story opens as a flashback within a flashback. I found this so confusing that I wound up restarting the film after the fifteen-minute mark, just to reset. The tricky thing about flashbacks is managing the moment when the audience realizes it is, indeed, a flashback. One issue that threw me for a loop was the fact that the characters John and Andres look very similar and found myself trying to distinguish the two within the changing flashbacks.
Indigo Valley is an actors’ film, relying on performances to tell the bulk of the story—while thankfully never relying on “big” performances to convey emotion. I would be remiss in failing to mention that the cinematography is good and can be easily missed, primarily at the moments when Isabella struggles with her old behaviors and may relapse. The visuals complement Isabella’s emotions beautifully.
I enjoyed Jaclyn Bethany’s Indigo Valley for its performances and the understated story. We’re conditioned to gravitate toward big, over-the-top performances, and it’s refreshing to see characters that look like us, have our life experiences which, like life, don’t always come out with a happy ending.
"…like life, not always come out with a happy ending."