This is a tale of a family that has secrets that it keeps from each other, until they get found out that is. It centers on two sisters : 20 something-year-old Dana (Jenny Slate) who is almost grown up, or so she thinks. She works as a copywriter at a trendy Manhattan magazine, and lives with her very solid and reliable fiancé Ben (Jay Duplass). Ali (Abby Quinn) her younger sibling is a high school senior and is something of a rebel who loves nothing better than sneaking out of the family’s apartment late at night to go clubbing.
This is 1995, and the title references the fact this was the very early days of big clumsy personal computers and a life before cellphones, when people expected to communicate more directly with one another.
Their parents Alan (John Turturro) and Pat (Edie Falco) who seem to have been married for eons, have settled into a complacency that fluctuates between some well aimed bickering to just going on with the own lives somewhat independently. Pat is a successful high-powered businesswoman whilst Alan is a frustrated copywriter who writes very bad plays in his spare time.
Then one day their lives are due to be upturned when Ali is doing some work on the family computer and she comes across a floppy disc on which her father had written erotic poetry for someone other than her mother. It is at about the same time that a slightly restless Dana runs into an old handsome ex from her college days (Finn Wittrock) who she finds she is still attracted. He is both sexy and spontaneous, and everything that Ben isn’t, so before long she is having an affair.
Like father like daughter, and when both end up being outed they are met with varying degrees of the same anger which initially doesn’t contain any hint of forgiveness of reconciliation
Landline re-unites writer/director Gillian Robespierre with the immensely talented Jenny Slate after their utterly charming ‘abortion comedy’ Obvious Child , and they seem to have this great affinity in making these contemporary relationship tales that are intent on pushing the boundaries in Slate’s characters. Strongly independent Dana is also not adverse to still including some of the traditional elements of her relationship when they seem to fit and/or suit her. And despite her very public rebellious nature, even Ali wants some sort of normality with her potential boyfriend.
This enchanting comic tale is about learning to negotiate a landscape in a family where sisters can be best friends and even distant parents can be human after all. With such an exceptional talented cast, Landline is very definitely one of the more compelling romantic comedies of the season.
Labels: 2017, Jenny Slate, romantic comedy, Sundance