Walking into ‘Claire in Motion’, I had expectations. Something you always try to avoid when you review any film, yet every once in a while you read the film’s description – this time revolving around Claire, a woman whose husband disappears and leaves her with untold secrets – and think, ‘Yup, I know what kind of movie this is’.
Boy, was I wrong.
What I expected was a glossy character thriller, following Claire (Breaking Bad’s Betsy Brandt) as she learns the seedy truth to her husband’s double life. Maybe he has another family in Iowa, or maybe he happened to deal blue meth out of a secret bunker in outer New Mexico. But this movie isn’t about any of those details, it’s about what was right in front of Claire’s face the entire time.
See, like most of us, Claire has been living her life day-to-day. Doing what we’re all expected to do: Raise your child, go to work, pay the bills, love your husband. What she hasn’t done is taken the time to stop, listen, and learn. We’ve all been there, most of us still are. We walk through our lives as ghosts to our own existence, oblivious to the wants and needs of everyone around us. We hear them, but do we bury our feet in the sand and actually listen?
Claire begins to learn that her husband has taken up with a charming art student (Anna Margaret Hollyman), and began work on a project that came to define his existential crisis. Immediately the movie buff in me screamed ‘NOW I KNOW WHERE WE’RE GOING’, but nope. Still wrong.
You see, directors Annie Howell and Lisa Robinson refuse to play the standard mystery tropes here, and they have zero interest in what I or anyone around me had in terms of expectations. They want to comment on the human condition, on our own lack of understanding of the most basic human desire: To be understood.
Claire begins the film as a lost soul obsessed with finding her husband, eventually evolving into a woman who truly understands herself. Brandt does her best work here, running the gamut of emotions a tortuous journey such as this creates. Lost, frantic, and confused grows into a steely resolve behind the eyes as Claire transitions into the butterfly lying dormant for too many years.
And if you pay careful attention to the real story being told, much like Claire, you might learn a little something about yourself.
Written by Annie J. Howell and Lisa Robinson
Directed by Annie J. Howell and Lisa Robinson