Blink and you’ll miss one of the best films of 2020 so far. Hilary Brougher’s excellent drama South Mountain arrives with little fanfare, made on a micro-budget, with next-to-no promotion, and it features actors that most folks wouldn’t recognize. Don’t let those factors prevent you from seeing this gem. Brougher, along with her stellar cast and crew, absolutely knocks it out of the park. A keen examination of a woman’s grief and self-discovery, South Mountain will sneak up on you quietly, gently squeeze soft spots and subtly tug at heartstrings.
“…hops from June to July to August, focusing on the crucial, defining moments that shape Lila’s tumultuous summer.”
The narrative hops from June to July to August, focusing on the crucial, defining moments that shape Lila’s (Talia Balsam) tumultuous summer. Lila’s daughters, Dara (Naian González Norvind) and Sam (Macaulee Cassaday) leave on their respective vacations. Lila’s best friend Gigi (Andrus Nichols) has breast cancer. To complicate matters further, Lila’s husband, Edgar (Scott Cohen), is secretly helping his pregnant girlfriend through contractions, over the phone no less. It doesn’t take long before he has to confess his infidelity.
This sends Lila on, for lack of a better term, a journey of self-discovery. At first, she’s delusional, believing that it will all get back to normal. “We’ve worked it out before, we’re going to work it out this time,” Lila tells Gigi. When her friend tries to talk some sense into her, Lila retorts defensively, “I don’t tell you what to do with your cancer, so don’t tell me what to do with Edgar.” She has a brief but fervent affair with one of her daughter’s friends, Jonah (Michael Oberholtzer). When her daughters return, Lila may or may not have achieved a redemption of sorts.
"…Akin to the wind, Brougher sweeps into Lila’s life, and then inevitably leaves her, to become one with nature."