“My Blind Brother” SXSW Movie Review

“My Blind Brother “ (2016)

My Blind Brother

Photo courtesy of Starz Digital Media

Film is reviewed from the 2016 SXSW Film Festival screening.

When we first meet Bill (Nick Kroll), he is running in a marathon. He is struggling a bit, unlike his blind brother Robbie (Adam Scott), who Bill is tethered to. Robbie makes everything look easy, having an almost rock star feel about him as he deals easily with family, friends, fans and the media. Robbie is somewhat a media star, competing in athletic events to raise money for his foundation, never missing an opportunity to be interviewed by the local TV stations. Bill, on the other hand, finds himself always in the background, never getting the attention or acknowledgment, even though he is right there by his brother’s side. It seems that Bill is responsible for Robbie’s blindness, having tricked his brother into diving into the shallow end of the pool.

Bill decides to head to the local bar to forget how much a loser he is compared to his brother, and there he meets Rose (Jenny Slate), a young woman who has just lost her boyfriend to an accident and is participating in his wake at the bar. Jenny confides in Bill that she is responsible for her boyfriend’s death, as she had just broken up with him, upsetting him, and, therefore, he didn’t pay attention to where he was going and was hit by a bus. Rose mentions that she should be doing something selfless, like working with the less fortunate, if just for karma’s sake. Commiserating in their sad lives, they hit it off and eventually end up sleeping together. The next morning, Rose is hit with guilt over her dead boyfriend and makes a hasty exit from Bill’s apartment. Bill, not knowing much about Rose, thinks he will never see her again.

Bill meets up with Robbie, all set to start training for a swim across a local lake when Robbie tells Bill that he doesn’t have to train with him anymore. Robbie announces he has a new guide, a volunteer. His new guide just happens to be Rose.  Now will Bill stand idly by as Robbie works his charms on Rose or will he fight back against his brother and not let his guilt take over?

My Blind Brother

Photo courtesy of Starz Digital Media

I loved this film, mostly due to the witty writing and the winning performances of Nick Kroll and Jenny Slate. The humor in this movie can be a little cutting, mostly at the expense of Robbie, but that’s OK because he is a selfish jerk who steps all over his brother, especially if it means that he can be in the spotlight. Sophie Goodhart, who wrote and directed “My Blind Brother” has a real feel for dialogue and the banter back and forth between Bill and Rose seems real and is hilarious. Some of the funniest scenes are between Rose and Bill, with Robbie in their presence, oblivious to what is going on.

My Blind Brother

Photo courtesy of Starz Digital Media

The cast is brilliant in this film. Adam Scott is perfect in the role of Robbie, who never met a microphone he didn’t like, lapping up all the attention of his fans and family. Scott plays Robbie as if he is entitled to every perk because he feels he deserves it because he is blind. Zoe Kazan, as the hapless friend of Rose, who is there for support and sometimes bad advice, is terrific and plays off of Slate’s Rose nicely. Nick Kroll is a counterbalance to Adam Scott’s Robbie. Kroll plays Bill as a sad sack kind of person who lets his brother walk all over him, even if it means that his brother gets the girl he is in love with. Kroll has excellent comic timing and meshes fully with both Scott and Slate. He has great chemistry with Slate, making their attraction seem genuine. Jenny Slate is the real star of this film, and she plays the kooky, messed up girl with a sweetness that will make you just fall in love with her from the start.

“My Blind Brother” is a fun ride that will have you laughing from the start and maybe squirming in your seat a few times. It’s not your ordinary romantic comedy, with real characters and a sense of humor that is a little biting. It’s a world you would love to be a part of; we just hope that somehow, someway Rose and Bill will figure out a way that they can end up together.   My Rating:  Full Price

My movie rating system from Best to Worst:  1). I Would Pay to See it Again  2). Full Price  3). Bargain Matinee  4). Cable  5). You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again

For more of Mike’s reviews and interviews click here

 

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