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Laramie Movie Scope:
The Land of Steady Habits

Coping with divorce and a mid-life crisis

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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January 17, 2019 – While this movie is about some serious subjects, like drug addiction and death, it is more about one man's often humorous mid-life crisis and his confused, lonely path toward finding a way forward in life.

Anders Harris (played by Ben Mendelsohn of “Ready Player One”) has divorced his wife, quit his job and finds himself adrift in a consumer-oriented, instant-gratification society where he doesn't seem to fit in anywhere. He is willing to experiment, trying a series of one-night stands and trying out drugs at a party he was invited to by mistake.

At this party, where he is not welcome, he falls in with some young adults smoking what he thinks is marijuana. He tries a hit, only to discover later the pot was mixed with PCP. A few minutes later, one of the youths, Charlie (Charlie Tahan of “Blue Jasmine”) loses consciousness and is taken to the hospital. Harris feels guilty and visits Charlie in the hospital. Charlie is the son of Harris' friends. Harris asks Charlie not to reveal to anyone the fact that he also smoked the same dope at the party.

Harris, a success in finance before retiring early, has another secret, too. He hasn't been paying the mortgage payments on the big house he gave to his wife, Helene (Edie Falco of “Megan Leavey”). He plans to borrow money to cover the debt, but he doesn't like the man in Helene's life who has taken his place, Donny O'Connell (Bill Camp of “Red Sparrow”). Harris' son Preston (Thomas Mann of “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”) is just out of drug abuse rehab, but is not doing well.

One night, Charlie drops in on Harris unexpectedly after ditching rehab. He drops off his prized pet turtle. Harris plans to phone Charlie's parents to tell them where he is, but Charlie threatens to tell his parents about the pot they smoked together at the party. Harris reluctantly puts down the phone and instead, accepts an invitation from Charlie to visit his “hideout,” inside a dry docked boat.

Harris plans to take Charlie back to his parents after smoking some pot with him at the hideout, but Charlie disappears. Things get progressively worse after that, as both Harris and his son are forced to confront the fact that they are major screw-ups. They are not the only ones keeping secrets in the family.

This movie depends almost entirely on Ben Mendelsohn's strong performance as a man who has isolated himself from his family. He does bad things to people, but he doesn't seem like a bad guy. He is more like a man who is trying to find his way in life and is trying to come to terms with his feelings about his ex-wife and son.

Everything comes to a head around a dinner table with family and friends when all the hidden things come to light. Harris ends up in the hospital, but he and his son come to terms, and Harris comes to an agreement with his ex-wife and Donny O'Connell. I like this movie. It is dark, but it also has a lot of humor in it. It also has the benefit of having characters capable of a bit of very unlikely redemption. This movie rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2019 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at dalek three zero one nine at gmail dot com [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]