Melissa Leo is such an endlessly fascinating actress that she makes this
little independent movie better than it probably should be. However,
while it features her searing work as a guilt-ridden mother who becomes the
enabler of her unpredictable prescription-drug-addicted grown daughter,
eventually even Leo's fine work can't totally save the movie from its
end the film becomes an intriguing-but-imperfect look at drug addiction and
lives of quiet desperation in the rural US. Bottled Up has some
wonderful parts, but they never quite gel together to make a totally
satisfying whole. It is mostly good, but it all seems like something
we've seen before, often in better films.
plays Faye, a repressed and shy woman who owns a depressing little shop in
the middle of a small town in the Pacific Northwest. The shop does
everything from shipping to donuts to piercing, which actually is somewhat
representative of the film itself – it can't just settle on one storyline,
it has to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.
main complication in Faye's life is her grown daughter Sylvie (Marin
Ireland). Apparently she was once a party girl, but now well into her
30s she is still living with her mom and eking out a meager living doing day
care for some neighbors' kids. She had an automobile accident a few
years earlier and due to a back injury she has become massively addicted to
painkillers. The drugs make Sylvie erratic and volatile, stealing to
get her fix and lashing out angrily at her mother when she is in need.
of the doctors in their small town know what is happening and refuse to
prescribe more drugs for Sylvie, instead insisting that Sylvie treat herself
through physical therapy. Nonetheless, Faye takes her daughter from
doctor to doctor, sometimes even faking her own pain, to keep the supply
never know for sure why Faye goes to such great lengths to deal with her
daughter's obvious addiction. One throwaway line in the movie suggests
that mom may have been driving in the car crash that led to her daughter's
addiction to painkillers, but that is never brought up again. Sylvie
almost never seems to appreciate what her mother is doing for her, except of
course when she receives a pill.
is dealing with this when she meets a nice new guy named Becket who is
working at the local health food store, an aging hippie who has made it his
mission in life to expose local companies polluting the town's water supply.
Becket's age is somewhere between that of the mother and daughter – though
he's obviously much closer in age to Sylvie than Faye – and Faye gets it
into her head that maybe a nice guy in Sylvie's life will help her get past
her problems. On a whim, Faye offers to rent the guy a room in their
home, and soon he is submersed in the family's odd dynamic.
meantime, rather than becoming attracted to Sylvie, Becket starts to have
feelings for Faye. This only deepens Faye's feelings of guilt,
particularly when she starts to enjoy the attention and the long-absent
stirrings of romance.
story is all told in smart and quirky strokes, and yet the audience can't
help but notice that the plotline feels well worn and doesn't always add up.
strong acting all around, and particularly by Leo, makes Bottled Up
worth a viewing.
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All rights reserved. Posted: March 6, 2014.