Similar to “My Dinner with Andre” and Linklater’s “Before” trilogy, “The Trouble with The Truth” hinges on a conversation between its main characters. Real time conversational movies are difficult to master because the dialogue and actors who deliver it have to be on point. It lives or dies with both components. Writer/director Jim Hemphill, however, has the perfect storm in this romantic indie drama.
Robert (John Shea) and Emily (Lea Thompson) were married for 14 years before they divorced. Now, their daughter Jenny (Danielle Harris) is engaged to be married and as most marriages do, it brings her parents together. After receiving a call from Robert, Emily agrees to meet him for dinner during her next trip to LA.
The two make small talk about Emily’s work as a novelist and Robert’s career as a musician at the bar before settling upstairs for dinner. The meat and potatoes (excuse the pun) of the film takes place at the dinner table. The two discuss their relationship, what went wrong, regrets, and their present relationships in one long conversation.
Hemphill’s dialogue is as close to perfect as scripted dialogue can be in a film like this! As the two talk, they dance around what they truly want to say at times and get to the point at others. This game of cat and mouse constantly throws logs and breathes life onto their old flame, building the romance of the drama.
The chemistry between Shea and Thompson is indisputable! As the conversation continues, the underlying attraction between the two grows as well. The simultaneous maturity of the actors (in real life) and character’s (on screen) wisdom spills out into their dialogue and acting nuances, creating a sexy concoction of suspense. Both actors connect with their characters in such a way that makes you want to continue eavesdropping for the rest of the 96 minute film!
Hemphill’s “Truth” rings true indeed. Every moment feels authentic, and is sprinkled with the right amount of humor to break up the serious tone. The build up to the finish line makes for a satisfying conclusion.The result is a romantic indie drama that’s worth the view and worthy of study for the low budget filmmaker!
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Check out my interview w/ writer/director Jim Hemphill: