SXSW Review: ‘Life in Color’

Life in Color Review

Mary (Katharine Emmer) is a bored, depressed nanny who’s just been fired from her job, thanks to a terrible clown named Homer. Homer (The Walking Dead’s Josh McDermitt) is equally depressed and feels bad for what happened so he offers to help out by letting her crash at his friend’s place, where he’s house-sitting. The two strangers, realizing that they’re just treading water in both life and their careers, reluctantly try and help each other pull each one out of their emotional ruts.

They’re both desperately looking for something and haven’t found that thing they think will make them happy. For Homer, is it success in the comedy world? For Mary, is it finding that someone she can trust? She’s been a nanny for so long, that she “feels nothing,” she says at one point.

The film is Emmer’s directorial debut and at times, it definitely feels like a debut film. There are some scenes that go on far too long, like a scene where they are driving home from a Palm Springs excursion or another scene where Homer and a friend sit at a bar and talk. And talk. And talk. And in another scene, Mary shows up in a wig. Why she is suddenly in a wig I never found out.

But, all that being said, there is something about Life in Color that is remarkably sweet and assured. Emmer isn’t afraid to use long, silent pause and in those pauses, we learn so much from these two damaged people. I’m really looking forward to seeing what she has up her sleeve for her next project.

Emmer and McDermitt have a nice, odd chemistry too. There are times when Mary stares at Homer with such disdain yet, we can see at the end of the stare, just as the camera turns away, there’s something there. McDermitt is really good here and you’ll realize how good an actor he is, especially if you only know him from his work on The Walking Dead.

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