OnScreen Review: 'Carrie Pilby'

Brittany Strelluf

This movie was based on the novel by Caren Lissner. While I personally didn’t care for the book, the movie was very enjoyable. It was directed by Susan Johnson and Kara Holden penned the screenplay. This movie came out of nowhere. It drew you in and kept your attention. The casting was impeccable.  All the characters were complex and left a mark in the viewer and the movie as a whole.  The film was awarded Best US Picture at the Gasparilla International Film Festival.

Carrie is a genius who is living alone in New York City after graduating from Harvard at 19.  She is estranged from her father after the death of her mother and an unhealthy affair. Her therapist gives her a list of goals to accomplish for her to be more social. The film follows her progress through the list. 

Nathan Lane was excellent in his role as Dr. Petrov, Carrie’s therapist with an endless supply of patience. It is he who assigns Carrie the list.  Her list includes:

  •          Go on a date.
  •          Make a friend
  •          Spend New Year’s Eve with someone
  •          Get a pet.
  •          Do something you loved to do as a child.
  •          Read favorite book.

Bel Powley was born for her role as the titular character. She made her character relatable and endearing. I found her portrayal of Carrie to be much more enjoyable and lovable than the character in the novel.

Colin O'Donoghue plays Professor David Harrison.  Harrison is a far cry from the much - loved Killian Jones that fans might know him for.  O'Donoghue has a remarkable ability to find the true nature of a character and expose that nature in a way that is natural yet very powerful.

Other performances included Vanessa Bayer, William Moseley, Gabriel Byrne, and Jason Ritter. All of the side characters were very strong in their portrayals. There were no weak links in this film's chain.

If anything stood out in this movie, it was the theme that people are always more complicated than they seem.  Carrie seems like a cynical hermit when she is actually a young woman healing from trauma. Harrison seems like an intellectual gentleman but he is actually a slime-ball in an ugly sweater who abuses his power over a 16- year -old child. Cy seems like an odd hippie when he is actually kind, talented, and wonderful.  Dr. Petrov seems like he has all the answers, when actually, he doesn’t. Daniel Pilby comes across as a careless dad, when he is actually doing the best he can and in the end, fights for his daughter when she needs him.

This movie is very sweet, fun, and enjoyable. Watch it and cross it off your list of things to do today.