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Featured DVD Review: The Looking Glass

January 25th, 2016

The Looking Glass - Buy from Amazon: DVD

The Looking Glass

The Looking Glass was a labor of love for a small town, which you can read about on the official site. It is also a very small movie, costing just $300,000 to make. Does it work? Or does the small budget result in a small movie?

The Movie

We first meet Julie arriving at an airport. She was supposed to be picked up by her grandmother, Karen, but Karen had an episode of sorts and arrived late. We learn that Julie's mother, Karen's daughter, passed away. Julie's dad married a new woman and Julie didn't take it very well, so her father shipped her off to her grandmother. She's still hurt over this and Julie tends to take this out on her grandmother. To be fair, Karen isn't the best of hosts, as she's been living on her own for so long that she's set in her ways.

It isn't until Karen hears Julie singing that Karen finds what she thinks is the way to get Julie involved in her new home. Karen takes Julie to the local theater group to audition for a play the town is putting on. It doesn't go well and ends in an encounter with poison ivy and another argument. Afterwards, Julie does agree to audition and she lands the part. This gives Julie and Karen something to bond over, because Karen used to be an actor herself. This helps Julie open up. She makes friends at her new school and even gets a boyfriend. However, her father and step-mother are coming to see her perform and that's bringing a lot of dysfunction with them.

That's a short plot summary, which brings us to the main problem I had with the movie. There's not a lot of plot here, so the pacing is a little off. I feel that the script could have used another round of editing to tighten the story and put the themes into better focus. Also, they should have made the step-mother less cliché. That said, the performances of Dorothy Tristan and Grace Tarnow more than compensate for these weaknesses. Dorothy Tristan hadn't acting for 30 years before making this movie. On the other hand, Grace Tarnow is only 13-years old and this is her first role. If Grace Tarnow wants to become an actor full-time, then this movie shows she has the talent to do so.

The Extras

There are not a lot of extras on the DVD. There's a beginning to a making of featurette, but it directs you to the site for more details. Then there is an extended scene and two deleted scenes.

The Verdict

The Looking Glass isn't a perfect movie and it needed a tighter focus to improve pacing problems. That said, it is worth it for the performances by Dorothy Tristan and Grace Tarnow. There are not a lot of extras on the DVD, but this is common for a limited release. Call it a solid rental, leaning towards a purchase.

Filed under: Video Review, The Looking Glass, Dorothy Tristan, Grace Tarnow