Film Review: ‘Change in the Air’

Variety | 10/19/2018 | Peter Debruge
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Though director Dianne Dreyer’s “Change in the Air” opens on a shocking, attention-grabbing scene of a desperate elderly man (played by M. Emmet Walsh) deliberately stepping in front of a moving vehicle, the rest of the film takes its sweet time to ramp up to faux profundity about humanity, spirituality, friendship, and forgiveness. The title is not only an allusion to the mysterious young lady (played by Rachel Brosnahan) who changes lives in a quiet suburban neighborhood, but also applies rather morbidly to the literal change that flies from the hand of that suicidal man.

With religious hymns scattered throughout, along with mentions of miracles, Eastern philosophy, and overt metaphysical powers, it’s clear the filmmakers are aiming for the faith-based market. However, the film has about as much resonance as a “Coexist” bumper sticker. Without a compelling, coherent narrative drive, the film’s own spirit sags.

Wren - Miller - Brosnahan - Town - Apartment

Wren Miller (Brosnahan) has recently moved to a new town and rented a modest, sparsely decorated apartment above music teacher Donna Olson’s (Macy Gray) garage. Constantly cloaked in subdued, soft fabrics and bathed in a halo of sunlight, she is an ethereal, beguiling presence — a tangible apparition. She receives sacks of letters daily, delivered by perky postman Josh Kassouni (Satya Bhabha), who begins to suspect that this reclusive tenant is somehow important. He can’t help but wonder: Where do all these letters come from, and what is she doing with them? The quest to unravel Wren’s secrets sends the town into a tizzy. Though she’s skilled at keeping to herself, her days of privacy end when a series of events stokes the curiosity of her neighbors and the authorities.

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Wren - Reports - Walter - Lemke - Walsh

After Wren reports Walter Lemke’s (Walsh) suicide attempt, she’s forced to dodge inquisitive police officer Moody Burkhart (Aidan Quinn), who...
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