SXSW Film

Daily reviews and interviews

Wellness

D: Jake Mahaffy; with Jeff Clark, Paul Mahaffy

Thomas Lindsey, played with appropriate shlubbiness by Jeff Clark, is an experiment in how long a man can lie to himself. Caught in a pyramid scheme promoting a product that doesn't exist, Lindsey tells his wife that all is well as he loses their life-savings. Trying to make good of an impossible situation, Lindsey manages to get up again and again only to be kicked in the groin by life. The physical reactions to Wellness are akin to those of The Office but with significantly less laughing and more squirming. Jake Mahaffy, who's directed numerous experimental short films, is no slouch with a camera, and Wellness features harsh lighting, occasional overexposures, and a dreary Northeastern-winter gray palette. Paired with the nonexistent soundtrack (except for two bookending M. Ward songs) and stark sound design, the effect can be exhausting. Then again, watching a man with barely enough money for food buy lottery tickets ain't no walk in the park.


Wellness won the Grand Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature.

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