Optimism in pursuit of optimism
After the first 20 minutes, I thought: I know where this is going. Instead, Pursuit of Rain cleverly uses the metaphor of rain as illumination. What could have been a sermon, a discouragement to society, quietly becomes a much deeper story, very human, that raises the question of why. Or rather: WHAT THE HELL?
The story here is that the main character, Eric, returns from his missionary work in Kenya with his head full of big questions and determined to keep helping people. He turns his innate talent for photography into a job as a portrait painter in a shopping mall. It’s not the best solution, but it pays the bills and leaves him free to continue his volunteer work. Then he meets a nice girl in a normal family and thinks everything is fine.
But somewhere down there is a dangerous and paralyzing thought that it is all wrong. And if anything goes wrong, he’ll hide again. The transition from setting up and creating a pleasant daily life slips imperceptibly into the darkness of bad things; things that are neither predictable nor avoidable. It seems so natural and tangible – the unappreciated origins of a person who cannot handle a situation and is not used to receiving sincere help.
Rainy Hours (Amazon Prime Video) is Cindy Jensen’s first play as a writer, director and producer. Even with such a big story, which can be a bit complicated, she knows what she wants to say. Composer Sarah Groves offers subtle, emotional and soothing music.
Lon Stratton’s natural lighting and cinematography offer a realistic quality, not blurry or garish, but clearly defined. Jansen knows her message, but the fact that she doesn’t grant her leader an easy triumph doesn’t mean there won’t be one.
In an interview with TheReviewGeek,-director Jansen talks about his desire to expose the perception of extreme suffering. With photos, problems are usually solved (within two hours). Or they miraculously disappear, often paving the way for morality. She tends to think that some people have more to carry and should be on their guard for the rest of their lives. The story is intentionally big – the overwhelming nature, just a small sample of what some of us go through on a daily basis.
There is less of a divide and no longer the divide between those who understand and those who do not. It is a cycle of constant dehydration of the mind; a slow, unresponsive leakage that flows into the present like water eroding into the past.
Eric has a recurring dream of a Kenyan woman who lost a child to drought. It is a portrait of his own lost innocence. Dreaming of yourself at the bottom. The most poignant sentence is spoken in Kenya: I came here to feel normal. With an unspoken piece in the air – for comparison.
Matt Lanter carries the film with a facial expression that couldn’t be more different from his role as Wyatt in Timeless. As Eric, he’s awkward, confused, excited, angry and scared. You may know him from the Star Wars and Marvel series, but also from Pitch Perfect 3, Disaster Movie and Star Crossing.
Fortunately, Stu, played by Eric Tiede (Modern Family, Famous in Love), provides playful interruptions to the action as a scatterbrained and well-meaning housewife. Everyone needs a best friend, no doubt – part insightful jerk, part loyal terrier. He leads most highlights – from the white lantern to the black lantern.
It should be noted that even though there are strong concepts, it’s not exactly a family film. It is a harsh reality that people live outside the norms of society. It’s not a timeline, but it’s certainly a theme you want to instill in young teens.
There’s a lot happening in this film – an exuberant ensemble that could bring two films together in one. That is, it’s good to translate life’s frustrating little messages, like Shit happens. You can’t cook the ocean. Bad things happen to good people. – which describes the law of negative attraction.
With its expansive messages and earthy feel, Pursuing the Rain is a call to get to know each other, trust the clan you’re building, and do what you feel you need to do, in whatever way you can. Both to find and create a living space. In search of reflection and a satisfying ending, this film touches on a universal truth – the only way to change someone’s fate is to change their pattern in a self-deprecating way.
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