Friday, February 1, 2019

Movie Review: “The Details"

By Lorraine Glowczak

Rated: R

I love quirky movies and I especially love the quirky Toby Maguire so I couldn’t resist watching “The Details”. Although dark comedies are not my usual go-to films, I was willing to give this Netflix movie, directed Jacob Aaron Estes, a try.

Briefly, Jeff Lang (Tobey Maguire) and wife Nealy (Elizabeth Banks) are a young Seattle couple with a two-year-old son. Jeff is an OBGYN and Nealy owns - what I think might be a small floral shop, but this is unclear. Considering a second child, they decide to enlarge their small home and also lay expensive new grass in their backyard. But there are worms in the grass and so raccoons regularly destroy it by uprooting the lawn on a nightly basis. Jeff goes to great lengths (it becomes more of an obsession) to get rid of the raccoons, including mixing poison with a can of tuna. Soon after, their neighbor Lila (Laura Linney), an older, lonely, cat woman, visits Jeff and reports that her cat Matthew, is missing. Jeff not yet realizing the connection, hopes Matthew will turn up safe.

The Toyota Prius driving Langs appear to live the idyllic suburbia life, but all is not what it seems. Ten years into their relationship, the spark of youthful love has subsided, and Jeff looks elsewhere to fill in the missing gaps and to reignite passion. He does so with a tryst with a former medical school classmate, Becca (Kerry Washington), who is married to Peter (Ray Liotta).  When Peter finds out, he blackmails Jeff in a roundabout way, and this is when things begin to fall apart – “uprooting” a seemingly perfect life. It doesn’t seem Jeff has learned his lesson because he also slips into a rendezvous with Lila.

Feeling down and unfilled, Jeff decides to donate an organ to a basketball friend, Lincoln (Dennis Haysbert), who is slowly dying and as a result of the donation, saves Lincoln’s life. One would think everything would turn around and become better for everyone at this point, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

“The Details” is likely one of the most bizarre, absurd films I’ve ever seen. As one movie reviewer put it, “the movie plays like a demented fairy tale, replete with butterflies, rainbows and cross-bows.”
All the acting was superb – especially Laura Linney’s performance. Her execution of the eclectic, 1960s throwback, crazy neighbor is worthy of an Oscar. As for Maguire, he still seems like the unpopular teenage kid named Peter who was bit by a spider in the popular “Spider Man” series and I simply couldn’t get past that image. Maguire’s role as a husband and doctor was not a good fit for him.

Although considered a comedy, I never laughed once. The film was way too bizarre for me to find any humor in it. With that being said, I do believe it is worth the time spent to dive into something a little strange from time to time and watching “The Details” might be a good “stretch beyond your comfort zone” movie. It certainly is for those who are into watching peculiar films. It is not, however, a movie for the whole family. Adults only.

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