clearly made by a first time director in that some of the framing was unconventional and amateurish, but that’s my biggest gripe with the film. it was also a bit long feeling, but that wasn’t a major problem. it’s primary successes were its ability to keep the audience uncertain and to make the protagonist’s situation sympathetic. most films like this will tip their ending early in the film – a film with a dark ending will have dark overtones throughout and won’t allude to any hope, a film with a happy ending will portray a sympathetic character who constantly struggles to keep their head above water, and finally succeeds in the end (pursuit of happyness). this one gives the audience reason to think that both good and bad things could happen by the films end. so when the film ends without a clear resolution, it makes sense given the rest of the film’s direction.
gyllenhaal does a good job in a tough role. she’s neither likable nor despicable. she does some good and bad things like the protagonist in half nelson. it also reminded me of levity.
a couple of bad performances from supporting actors.