3 Backyards (2011)
Movie InfoThe story of four inhabitants of the same suburban town over the course of one curious autumn day.
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Critics Consensus: Battle: Los Angeles Loses The Fight
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Critic Reviews for 3 Backyards
Mendelsohn's dialogue is, for the most part, as spare as poetry, and the three stories are woven together masterfully and acquire a gleaming aura that's almost pastoral.
Little is left to chance, and every detail contributes to a tightly schematic, microcosmic poetic concept.
Well-acted and acutely observed, the sort of cerebral fare you can more typically find on HBO than in theaters these days.
A story in which poor real folks are granted perspective only by brushing up against starlets, accidents, and villains of the tabloid press.
The movie has none of the smugness of American Beauty: You could dream of living in a world like this.
This dark, well-acted suburban tale is follow-up to the gifted Mendleson's most promising feature debut
And although Mendelsohn maintains a certain cool detachment, he also allows the film to occasionally soar in unexpected ways.
Mendelsohn may believe he's presenting an unvarnished look at middle-class America, but if these kinds of people exist, you won't recognize them.
Unlike those indie directors whose feel-good, P.C. claptrap predictably gets praised by the very people it flatters, Mendelsohn makes suburban poetry that opposes the way middle-class film culture likes to fantasize itself.
It may not be the Long Island the natives are more accustomed to, but that sense of place from a prism of both wonderment and despair, is deep into the moment of those physical and human worlds alike, playing out sensually and emotionally in suburbia.
Three lives intersect over the course of a fall day in Long Island in Eric Mendelsohn's dazzling and delicate independent drama 3 Backyards.
Tries to give suburban malaise a fresh spin with dreamlike visuals and overbearing music.
At once lyrical and mysterious, familiar yet enigmatic...It's a movie that raises more questions than it answers. It leaves you feeling haunted and touched.
Eric Mendelsohn's first film since 1999's Judy Berlin suggests Little Children as helmed by a nature documentarian.
An exquisitely observed slice-of-life with a genuinely transporting feel for its setting. Sumptuously dreamlike and compellingly elusive.
Audience Reviews for 3 Backyards
"3 Backyards" starts with John(Elias Koteas) having a staring contest with his wife(Kathryn Erbe) at 3:30 am before he leaves to catch a flight that turns out to be canceled. He's not the only one leaving town as an actress(Embeth Davidtz) asks her neighbor Peggy(Edie Falco) for a ride to the Port Jefferson Ferry. And because she is just a kid, Christina(Rachel Resheff) has to go to school, even though she just missed the school bus.
The thing I like most about "3 Backyards" are its moments of silence that not only allow the actors to take control but also say more than any of the dialogue does. What the movie comes tantalizingly close to depicting is the emptiness of suburban lives, as the distance between people only allows them to watch each other, not connect.(There is one moment of dislocation that is probably more accidental than anything else.) However, none of that is as interesting as it sounds here, as the movie lacks anything in the way of well-defined characters.
Lovely, elliptical and filled with quiet dread, this lovely film is as clear an argument for the vivid independent film world as any I have seen this year. Though it doesn't yet have a distributor, it is as good as any small-scale film I've seen this year. Depicting one tiny day in three suburban Long Island households, director Eric Mendolsohn sees every nook and cranny in the lives he puts under the microscope here, and if what he finds isn't new news, it's still perfectly observed and put together. Great performances all around and gorgeous cinematography help contribute to make this a film the deserves a much bigger audience than a couple of Manhattan screenings in a film festival. Beautiful.More
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