Sometimes while scanning the various channels on your tube you run into something that intrigues and/or surprises you.
Such was the case with the 2015 Rebecca Hall and Jason Sudeikis starring, Sean Mewshaw directed/co-written romantic comedy/drama Tumbledown. I had never heard of this film before seeing it yesterday and I suspect not many others have, either. Here’s the movie’s trailer:
This trailer tries to emphasize the humor in the movie -and, as you see, there certainly is some- but the film to my mind is more a romantic drama than a comedy… and one that takes on some darker themes.
Without giving too much away, Rebecca Hall plays Hannah, a young widow whose husband Hunter released one folklore album with 12 songs on it before unexpectedly passing away. Jason Sudeikis is Andrew McDonnell, a New York bred and raised intellectual who teaches at a university and hopes to write a book about Hannah’s husband.
Hannah, though, is still in considerable pain and quite depressed because of the sudden loss of her husband. She is emotionally stuck in time, smart enough to realize she’s wallowing in her depression and wanting to move on yet unwilling and/or unable to do so. She devotes her time to writing for a local newspaper while hoping to write a biography about her husband.
Into town appears Andrew and, as the trailer above notes, their meeting is not all that pleasant.
I should stop right here and mention this is romantic comedy 101: The characters at first hate each other but eventually prove to be perfect for each other. I’ve written before how romantic comedies tend to have very formulaic plots and Tumbledown certainly checks off many romantic comedy elements.
Having said that, I’ll further state that the film could have used another draft. The fact of the matter is that the character of Curtis (Joe Manganiello), who is essentially Hannah’s go-to guy for sexual satisfaction and Finley (Dianna Agron), Andrew’s New York girlfriend, could have easily been cut from the film without affecting it too much. Not that they were bad in the movie, its just that as written they didn’t add all that much to the proceedings.
With that out of the way, let me say that while Tumbleweed isn’t perfect and in some ways it adheres to that formula, there was enough other stuff here to intrigue me and, ultimately, recommend the film.
What makes the film work is that both Rebecca Hall and Jason Sudeikis are quite good in their respective roles. Rebecca Hall presents a brave front but one feels the pain of her loss. Jason Sudeikis, too, delivers a fascinating character who -and I’m trying real hard not to spoil things here- the viewer thinks early on knows more than the others about Hunter’s death but, ultimately, is revealed to be suffering as much internal pain as Hannah.
The scene where he discovers this was, to me, devastating yet played out as most of the film, subtly and without huge fanfare.
As much as I personally liked it, Tumbleweed will not appeal to everyone. Those who want things to move more quickly may find their patience tried and those all too familiar with romantic comedy elements may wish the writers had eschewed some of them.
But for those who want a quiet drama with some comedic elements and a genuinely interesting plot, you may find the movie well worth checking out.