SXSW Film Review: 'Big Significant Things'
Traverse the American South with dawning disillusionment
By Anne Harris,
8:48AM, Mon. Mar. 10, 2014
For the dawning disillusionment of adulthood that comes with committing to a path in life, such as staring down the barrel of marriage to a Hall & Oates-worthy rich girl, and working in an industry about which he is no longer sure, hitch a ride with Craig (Harry Lloyd) as he traverses the modern American South in search of one last look at life.
It is a journey that he has only articulated to himself as, "you know, seeing some landmarks," but we know differently as he throws up chewing tobacco on the side of the highway. The few details revealed are between interstate-highway exits at the World's Biggest Cedar Bucket, the World's Biggest Rocking Chair, and the murky Quik-Stops and diners along the way. An old school friend may meet him down the road, and Craig begins to call him frequently, like a Greek chorus on speed-dial, but the friend's interest inevitably fails. And each stop on the road provides yet another disappointment.
Aside from a cold fiancée's voice heard over the phone, the only other denizens are characters well-cast as locals along Interstate 10. One standout is Sylvia Grace Crim as Grace, a spirited, hard-partying barmaid whom we last see on an early morning "walk of shame" home to her baby—another illusion shattered. As a wry confection, the dialogue here engages; the cinematography and direction also rate top marks. The problem is that when every anticipated "discovery" brings disappointment, set against the backdrop of the South's reductive popular music and overly used rural rubble, for some the palate begins to crave balance: When we finally have to grow up, a few good discoveries are as inevitable as the bad.
Big Significant Things
Visions, World Premiere
Wednesday, March 12, 4:30pm, Alamo Ritz