“Diane,” or when you come to grips with your present and the past gives you a jolt of bitterness

For Diane (Mary Kay Place), a kind of selfless stoic, everyone else comes first. Generous but with little patience for self-pity, she spends her days checking in on sick friends, volunteering at her local soup kitchen, and trying courageously to save her troubled, drug-addicted adult son (Jake Lacy) from himself. But beneath her unending routine of self-sacrifice, Diane is struggling with her own demons, haunted by a past she cannot let go of and that threatens to disrupt her increasingly chaotic world.

Diane dotes on a cousin who is dying of cancer in the hospital, a neighbor who received hip surgery and a homeless person who comes to the soup kitchen where she volunteers, and especially, on her son. She has a kind of safety net (family, friends, community) around her, except that time runs out and this network slowly unravels, as these things tend to do when you put too much pressure on them. Built around an extraordinary, fearless performance from Mary Kay Place, the narrative debut from Kent Jones is a profoundly human portrait of a woman searching around the pieces of a broken life for redemption.

“Diane” is also a poignant retelling of a rural America, the flyover states, one where a woman has to learn to deal with life just as she does with death. Kent Jones films everything with vulnerable simplicity and laser-sharp focus, paying attention to what matters the most to him: human beings.

Film opens March 29th.


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