2 out of 5 stars
As audiences are introduced to Sue Buttons (Allison Janney), we could assume that she is in the latest version of The Invisible Woman. Unlike the horror classic, her life has to be one of the saddest depictions of human existence in film history. The suburban housewife is the only person who remembers her birthday. Everyone in her life seems to look right through her as if she does not exist. Even though she listens to her daily affirmations of inspiration, there is nothing that helps the poor woman to be seen. Until the day she catches her husband in bed with another woman and Karl (Matthew Modine) dies of a heart attack on the spot.
What she does next could be credited to the shock of this bizarre situation as she chooses to bury Karl’s body and report her husband missing. As the police and the media attempt to uncover the truth of the banker’s disappearance, Sue finally gets the attention that she desires. Unfortunately, the unassuming housekeeper causes many to begin to look into Karl’s disappearance since he has been working some shady deals at his local bank branch. Between the local crime syndicate, inquisitive police detectives and desperate news reporters, the web of deception begins to close in around Sue. It is unclear how she will escape the inevitability of telling the truth.
In the dark comedy tradition of Burn After Reading or A Simple Favour, this obviously is director Tate Taylor’s (The Help) exploration of his shadier side. Yet, what directors have to unearth within this genre is that fine line between the darker elements and the humour. It can be said that Amanda Idoko’s screenplay proves to be more viscous than comical, which leads to more cringe-worthy elements than laughs. Not that Allison Janney and this outstanding cast fail to do their best to carry this sorted tale through to the end. Still, the intricate web of deceit and the climactic ending turn out to be less than satisfying.
What this film does offer to the viewer is a discussion of our need for acceptance. Janney’s depiction of the harrowing experience of Sue Buttons’ outright desire for love and acknowledgement is brilliant. Even though many of the scenarios surrounding her life prove to be a bit over the top, her character taps into a felt need plaguing modern society. If it was possible to isolate the first act as a case study for loneliness and humanity’s hunger for connection, this film has the potential to be great. Unfortunately, as things unfold on screen, the ludicrousness of this twisted psychological journey only manages to lose its way to a exceedingly violent end.
REEL DIALOGUE: Are we alone on this journey called life?
Sue Buttons shows us all that it can be easy to feel isolated in a crowd, much less while you try to keep ahead of the lies that have been laid to capture the hearts of society. Isolation can be a physical reality, but for many it is truly a state of mind. We can seek solace in personal relationships or through technology, but these things eventually have limited satisfaction.
This profoundly philosophical query can be answered by saying that God is there for us at all times. The answer for mankind is to merely turn around and acknowledge His presence. During times of joy or loneliness, God is there for us and provides a relationship unlike any other.
Where do you start? Begin with the first book of the New Testament - Matthew 28:20 - ‘behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age’ and then go back to the beginning of the story and introduce yourself as the person of Jesus. Matthew
You may realise that you were never really alone and you never need to feel that way again...