James White charts the peaks and troughs of a mother-son relationship in the aftermath of bereavement and the throes of terminal illness.

This unflinching film showcases the power of cinema as a tool for social commentary and the telling of intense personal stories. It hinges on the central, compelling lead performance of Christopher Abbott as James – trapped in a listless downward spiral, cannily reflected by the opening sequence of extreme closeups solely on his face. There is no clearly defined beginning, end, or structure; it instead provides a snapshot of a confusing few months, staying realistically messy.

James White is not an enjoyable film, but it amply fulfills its goal in being a piece that resonates honestly with its audience. Committed performances demand further praise on top.

RATING: 4/5


INFORMATION

DIRECTOR: Josh Mond

WRITER: Josh Mond

CAST: Christopher Abbott, Cynthia Nixon, Scott Mescudi

SYNOPSIS: An emotional two-hander depicting the struggles of a rudderless and hedonistic son to support his mother and her battle with cancer following the unexpected death of his estranged father.

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