- Max Walker-Silverman
- Run Time
- 1 hour and 28 minutes
VP Content Ratings
- Sex & Nudity
- Star Rating
For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill and a time to heal;
a time to break down and a time to build up;
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance;
I hardly feel like a mustard seed
‘cause your love is what I need
Come on, be kind to me!
Can’t you see I’m in misery?
Character actress Dale Dickey shines in this Western romance written and directed by first-timer Max Walker-Silverman. Shot in glorious color that captures the beauty of wildflowers and golden aspen in the daytime and then at night-time the glowing sunsets and star-studded night skies of Colorado, this slow-paced film will appeal to nature lovers as well romantics.
The widowed Faye (Dale Dickey) parks her small trailer camper at Camp Site #7 in a Colorado park and eagerly awaits the arrival of someone. We can see in her weathered face the effects of past joys and sorrows, and several shots of flowers springing from the hard-packed cracked soil intimate that she is a survivor. She dines on the crustaceans that she catches in her trap that she checks daily in the nearby lake, suggesting that this is a lady who largely lives off the grid.
Her neighbors are few—the postman who carries the mail from campsite to campsite on a pack horse; the four cowhands and their little sister who show up with shovels and, who through the little girl, politely ask if she will move her trailer to another site so they can dig for the remains of their father and move them to a more scenic spot. She declines, replying that she has to stay at Campsite #7 because she is to meet someone here. They move on, but some days later, when they return and discover that their pickup truck engine is broken, we discover even more how self-reliant she is when she crawls under their truck to discover the trouble. She even disconnects the engine of her own truck and installs it in theirs so they can borrow it for a while. They leave her their canoe, apparently as the insurance that they will return it.
She accepts the invitation of a pair of lesbians to come over for shared beer and conversation by their campfire. As they chat amiably, she tells them that she is expecting a man on whom she once had a high school girl crush to show up in a silver car with a black dog.
When her expected visitor does not appear after several days have passed and no letter has arrived, Faye decides to pack up and leave. She falls asleep outside at night and is awakened the next morning by a black dog. Lito (Wes Studi) has finally arrived. They spend their first moments like adolescents at their first dance—each shyly hesitant about what to say or do, and when they do interact, speaking in short sentences. They reminisce about their high school days, recalling a field trip they had made to this very spot—and thus we understand why Faye had refused earlier to move. Each remembers their past a little differently. “You tried to kiss me,” Lito says, to which Faye replies, “No, you tried to kiss me.” As they warm to each other, they get out their guitars and sing Michael Hurley’s “Be Kind to Me.”
The two warm up to each other, each confessing that they miss their dead spouses, but both are reluctant to say out loud what they expect to come out of this encounter. The grief each of them feels over their loss is still very much present—it is significant that for Faye it has been seven years since her husband’s death. When Lita proves a bit inept at setting up his pup tent for the night and Faye gives him a hand, we think they might be sleeping apart, but of course, she at last invites him into her small trailer where there is but one bed.
The song the two sing together might offer a clue as to what will follow their night together. It looks back upon a yearned-for relationship, taking the form of the plea that is repeated over and over, “Come on, be kind to me!/
Can’t you see I’m in misery?” Misery is probably too strong a word to apply to either Faye or to Lito, but certainly each feels still the pain of loss and loneliness, and so are reaching out to see if they have found a companionship akin to what they had once received from their lost mates. Regardless of what happens, we are assured by Faye’s hike up to the top of the mountain that can be seen from Campsite #7—a trek that takes her through a growth of aspens aglow with their gorgeous yellow leaves—that she will survive. A woman who can oversee the transference of an engine from one truck to another ought to be resilient enough to take about anything that life can fling in her face.
The two principals are outstanding in their roles as a couple in the winter of their lives. It is so satisfying to see them given leads, after having seen them perform so well in supporting roles for so many years. (If you go to IMDB and click onto their names, I am sure you will find that you have enjoyed many of their movies!) Even if the story were not so satisfying, with its puncturing somewhat of the usual Hollywood romantic bubble, this would be a rewarding film, one that makes me eager to see what its author Max Walker-Silverman comes up with next. This little film, arriving with little fanfare, reinforces my belief that such small, independent films are worth a dozen so-called blockbusters!
This review will be in the September issue of VP along with a set of questions for reflection and/or discussion. If you have found reviews on this site helpful, please consider purchasing a subscription or individual issue in The Store.