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By Eric Campos | May 3, 2004

In William Moreing’s charming “Joyful Partaking,” we witness the lonely existence of several suburbanites locked away in their houses, sheltered from the world and the quirky community around them. But on one special day all of these people’s lives will take a turn for the better right before your eyes and the journey Moreing takes us on is indeed a joyful partaking…and a half.
As newcomers to the neighborhood we meet Walter Majeski, former television weatherman bent on suicide over guilt for losing his son in a freak snow storm; young married couple Jeff and Julie whose shaky relationship is strained further by their new resident – Jeff’s mother who’s been partially paralyzed by a stroke; Vivian, a lonely woman who talks to her dog as if it were a real person way more than your average pet owner does; then there’s the Utterbacks, made up of an alcoholic out of work husband and father, his wife that fears him, his daughter that vows to support herself during her dad’s unemployment by taking care of an autistic neighbor and his pre-pubescent son who’s smarter than he is. We meet these characters and more during our day long visit with them and to reveal the events that help reshape their lives would be a crime. Letting them leisurely unfold over these two full hours is a pure treat.
As feel good as this comedy is, it still has quite a dark edge to it. Think that an old lady lying in the bushes all day because she’s unable to get herself up is funny? Well, you will. The character also comes to realize her situation as being humorous as well, so you don’t feel as guilty about laughing at a helpless elderly person. Little situations like this, as well as all of the little quirks of Moreing’s characters make this an infectious watch. Now that I’m thinking about it, I really want to watch it again. Marvelously directed with an amazing cast, this is a great, great movie!

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