At Middleton (2013) – Adam Rodgers

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Available now from Anchor Bay Canada, is this delightful film, At Middleton, starring Andy Garcia and Vera Farmiga.

It’s a tale of regrets, life, choices, love, second chances, and a perfect day.

So of course it takes place at the symbolic crossroads of life… a university.

Andy Garcia is George Hartman, Vera Farmiga is Edith Martin. Both of them are accompanying their children to Middleton, for a campus tour.

George is accompanying his son, Conrad (Spencer Lofranco), who seems less than enthused about wandering the Middleton campus, and seems rather aimless about his desires. Edith is with her daughter, Audrey (played by Vera’s younger sister, 21 years her junior, Taissa Farmiga), who knows everything about Middleton and is rather obsessed about going there, and having linguistics professor Dr. Roland Emerson (Tom Skerritt) be her advisor.

Predictably, at their first meeting, George and Edith aren’t fans of one another, but as the tour wanders the campus, a moment allows them to slip away from the rest of the group, and they decide to set out on their own.

What follows is a gentle romance, a revelation about choices and relationships, and how one day can change everything around you.

Farmiga and Garcia are wonderful together, as their characters begin a dance they are both familiar with, but have not done for a long time. Watching them open and share, as their burgeoning relationship begins is really quite sweet, and both of the actors bring a sense of history with them, that younger actors just don’t carry.

In short, it’s a grown-up love story, set in some gorgeous locations. The film looks beautiful.

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These two share a beautiful day together, and you wonder what could be, and about choices made that lead them to where they are.

There’s a fantastic scene where they have stumbled upon a drama class, and take their turn on the stage. Their performances together are heartbreaking, and shows a lot of trust on the parts of both actors.

Vera isn’t the only actor with a blood relation on-screen, Garcia’s daughter, Daniella Garcia-Lorido, makes an appearance as a film student, in a scene that initially mirrors a spying scene in the library, showing how far our character have already come.

You can tell that all of the characters have an effect on each other by the use, and consequent reappearance of phrases and words, and it always gives the other characters pause as they too sense the connection that is going on.

There’s nothing revelatory about the ending, or even the film itself. But what it is, is nice, sweet, grown-up but with a wistful sense of fun and whimsy. There are laughs, and bittersweet moments.

None of this would have worked if it had not been for the performances of the two leads, and they do make a wonderful couple.

This is a good one for a date night, I’m thinking.

So if you’re looking to curl up with a loved one, throw this one in the player now, it’s available from Anchor Bay, and cuddle up together.

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