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Trouble With The Truth


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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Musician Robert (John Shea) is a starving artist with low overhead and minimal commitments. When Robert s daughter announces that she s engaged, he advises her against it his own marriage to Emily (Lea Thompson) didn't last, and doesn't understand why anyone would want to give up their independence. Yet when Robert and Emily reunite and dredge up old memories, they discover they have a lot of unresolved issues. Love, marriage and divorce aren't quite as simple as they d like. Special Features: Commentary by Lea Thompson and Jim Hemphill, Interviews with Lea Thompson, John Shea, and Jim Hemphill

Review

Jim Hemphill's "The Trouble with the Truth" is a pleasant surprise that gets better as the movie unfolds. A divorced couple meets for dinner after their daughter announces her engagement. In the course of this long meal, they discuss everything we would expect from divorcees wrestling with their feelings. Structured as a single long conversation, it has been compared to Louis Malle's "My Dinner With Andre." and Richard Linklater's "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset." It is a small movie with very deep feelings. Robert (John Shea) is a struggling jazz musician. His is a disappointing career, save for a few highlights that probably hold more meaning for him than for the superstars.Emily (Lea Thompson) is a successful novelist, preparing to write her next big book. Now that their sole child from their 14-year marriage, Jenny (Danielle Harris), is getting married, they find the chance and willingness to meet. There is something intimate about the long conversation in a dark, elegant restaurant, inviting us to divulge fruits from our secret gardens. How much do we share about ourselves, in such a public setting, knowing that the woman in the next table might be paying attention? Their marriage did not end amicably. This film has us then wondering when couples are ready for such meetings. When does the fury of a hostile divorce finally cool off, enabling the couple to meet for a quiet dinner, and perhaps reach closure? In this case, it took some ten years for Robert and Emily to be ready. In that decade, they had time to reflect on their marriage, trying to untangle the twisted knots of hidden feelings. They start to confront real answers to those basic questions. What is it that breaks the marriage? Is it the anger? The betrayal? How much influence does luck have, more than effort, in our failures and successes? Part of the greatness of this film is that it not only avoids any simple answers, but it also takes us into the awkward contradictions that help us look at the mirror each day. It's a conversation that many of us should have, but never will. Strangely, they do not invite their daughter. Tellingly, they speak for an hour about themselves and each other, but almost never about her. John Shea is so very good as a man with a chauvinist appetite, a troubled conscience and a touch of surprising tenderness. He keeps ending his sentences with the same smirk, yet it means something different every time, revealing more pain and hope with each gesture. I fear that, in the shadow of Shea's towering performance, Lea Thompson will be overlooked. She's perfectly cast, almost the same pretty face we know from 1980s teen films ("Back to the Future," "Some Kind of Wonderful"). But her innocent appearance conceals unexpected emotions over the choices she has made, which she divulges with surprising honesty. These two talk about everything. Because we are used to the conventions of Hollywood melodrama, we anticipate right from the beginning that Emily and Robert will eventually reunite. That prospect almost informs the narrative for us. But as booze is added to the conversation, untold longings bubble to the surface. The film suggests that closure in such a relationship only comes with acceptance, and not a farewell. This movie, about adults, shatters any notion of romantic love, regarding it as an invention only a few centuries old. We learn, instead, that it is not your first love, but your first spouse who had the privilege of sharing something primordial with you. --Roger Ebert

Not since My Dinner With Andre has a film consisting largely of a single conversation been such compelling viewing. While Jim Hemphill's The Trouble With the Truth lacks the thematic heft of Louis Malle's classic, this portrait of a middle-aged divorced couple reassessing their lives and relationship is the s --Los Angeles Times

Not since My Dinner With Andre has a film consisting largely of a single conversation been such compelling viewing. While Jim Hemphill's The Trouble With the Truth lacks the thematic heft of Louis Malle's classic, this portrait of a middle-aged divorced couple reassessing their lives and relationship is the sort of subtle, grown-up drama all too often missing even from indie cinema. Featuring stellar performances by John Shea and Lea Thompson, the film will hopefully find its discerning audience. We are first introduced to Robert (Shea), a jazz musician who's long ago given up his artistic aspirations and settled for playing piano in a swanky hotel bar to a clientele to which he feels immeasurably superior. The sort of overgrown man-child who prefers one-night stands with passing strangers over committed relationships, he not surprisingly attempts to discourage his daughter (Danielle Harris) when she informs him that she s engaged to be married. The reason he cites is his own failed marriage to her mother, Emily (Thompson), a successful novelist who has since gotten remarried to a wealthy businessman. But when Emily shows up at the hotel and the former couple enjoy a reunion over dinner, it soon becomes apparent that her seemingly now perfect life has its own complications. Most of the film s running time is consumed by the resulting conversation between the former couple. As they rehash their relationship in honest and often painfully funny fashion, their enduring love and mutual attraction becomes palpably clear. A genuine erotic tension develops as they flirt with the idea of spending the night together. Hemphill's screenplay features the sort of complex and subtle characterizations that defy easy stereotypes, with Robert displaying a witty self-knowledge that makes his flaws seem all too human and Emily revealing an endearing warmth and vulnerability. The free-flowing dialogue feels utterly natural, and the climactic scene is both poignant and teasingly ambiguous. With its tight time frame and few locations, the proceedings at times more closely resemble a stage play than a film, but the fluid camerawork and editing prevent things from ever feeling static. Shea and Thompson--each conveying an alluring sexuality in the best screen roles they've had in years are so appealing that it becomes impossible not to root for their characters to get back together. But they also effortlessly display an intelligence and maturity that painfully reminds us that such easy solutions are not always possible. --Hollywood Reporter

It's a testament to writer-director Jim Hemphill's enjoyably chatty script and to the hand-in-glove performances of his charismatic leads that "The Trouble With the Truth," a movie that's largely just one real-time conversation between two people, proves such an alive and involving film. Despite taking place in only a few indoor locations and without an excess of movement within those spots Hemphill deftly manages to avoid the kind of static staginess often associated with this sort of chamber piece. Instead, he plunks us swiftly and intimately into the lives of a long-divorced couple, womanizing lounge musician Robert (John Shea) and remarried novelist Emily (Lea Thompson), as they meet for drinks, dinner and dissection upon Emily's arrival in L.A. for a business trip. And quite the catch-up it is as the two, who share a just- engaged daughter (Danielle Harris, seen briefly in the opening), move through a probing series of verbal volleys that recount the history of their 14-year marriage from youthful idealism to disillusionment and infidelity. Thanks to the residual love and attraction between the pair, this cocktail-fueled reunion never descends into a "Virginia Woolf"-like grudge match but, rather, remains an equitable, tender, sometimes surprising game of hard truth-telling. --Los Angeles Times

Product Details

  • Actors: Lea Thompson, John Shea, Danielle Harris, Keri Lynn Pratt, Rainy Kerwin
  • Directors: Jim Hemphill
  • Producers: Daniel Farrands, Thommy Hutson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Maverick Entertainment Group
  • DVD Release Date: June 3, 2014
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00JDB4X78
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,317 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Ending wasn't really satisfying either...
Austen Good Reads
The DVD commentary track by Thompson and the director is fantastic too - really interesting and fun.
Tom Keegan
Lea Thompson as always gives a superb performance.
M. Loring

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Brian Trenchard-Smith on February 26, 2015
Format: DVD
The Trouble With Truth is a delightful, romantic think piece on the swirling complexities of love, marriage, divorce, and parenting. Like My Dinner With Andre, the film is one long conversation, but in this case the subject matter is of much broader appeal. Lea Thompson and John Shea are superb as the couple whose sexual chemistry and affection for each other has endured past the pain of their divorce. Jim Hemphill's script is both witty and poignant, full of hard truths, often painfully funny, as we recognize similar flaws and character traits within ourselves. As director he transcends the static nature of the piece with astute editing and unobtrusive camera movement, always focused on the ebb and flow of the relationship and the " will they or won't they?" issue which percolates beneath the surface. Lea Thompson is adorable as usual, but guys, don't think of this as a chick flick. It's really a couple's flick. Perhaps every romantic relationship would benefit from the conversation that follows seeing this excellent film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tom Keegan on March 2, 2015
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is an extremely entertaining romantic comedy with spectacular performances by John Shea and Lea Thompson, who are both the best they've ever been. Great cinematography and dialogue, along with a flawless cast (Danielle Harris and Keri Lynn Pratt do fine work in supporting roles), make this a must-see. The DVD commentary track by Thompson and the director is fantastic too - really interesting and fun.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Loring on February 27, 2015
Format: Amazon Instant Video
This is an incredible independent film. Lea Thompson as always gives a superb performance. Instead of an over the top cliche movie, go for this!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By zoey on March 2, 2015
Format: Amazon Instant Video
A brilliant and special performance by Lea Thompson.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Josef Steiff on August 5, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is an amazing film. Lea Thompson gives one of her best performances. The dialogue reveals rather than tells, and the progression of emotions and actions feels honest and real. One of the best examples of independent cinema!
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