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Dandelion (Unrated)

Release Date: October 7th, 2005 (NYC-Landmark Sunshine Cinemas).
The Cast: Vincent Kartheiser, Taryn Manning, Arliss Howard, Mare Winningham, Blake Heron, Michelle Forbes.
Directed by Mark Milgard.

BASIC PREMISE: After getting into trouble with the law for something he didn’t do, Mason (Kartheiser), a lonely teenager, falls in love with Danny (Manning).

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: This film is rich with character development and beautiful scenery. The cinematography brings out the beauty of the picturesque landscape with blue skies and green fields. The opening scene is very strange place to start, as Mason holds a gun to his mouth in the middle of a picturesque field. A few scenes later, this scene makes more sense. He is not a typical teenager compared to those in his small rural town. He is not into alcohol or drugs and is often keeps to himself. Taryn Manning gives an excellent performance as Danny, a beautiful girl who Mason briefly meets before he goes off to jail. Arliss Howard gives a very good performance as Luke, Mason’s father who remains cold and distant from his son for most of the film. After Luke accidentally hits a pedestrian with his car and covers it up, Mason gets framed for the accident and spends two years in jail. Most of the film is set two years later as Mason tries to pull his life back together with Danny, who has a new boyfriend. The script is full of many subtleties and gentle dialogue that rarely becomes melodramatic—except for a scene when Layla (Winningham), Mason’s mother, throws every appliance in her kitchen during a nervous breakdown. What makes this film truly engaging is the strong chemistry between Mason and Danny. Their love is real and so is every scene that they are together in.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Every character in this film has his or her own flaws. Danny has to deal with her controlling mother who is convinced that she is exactly as outgoing and sexually-flirtatious as her daughter. Until she meets Mason, Danny has never committed to a serious relationship before. Mason’s parents are also flawed—his father bottles up his feelings while his mother is getting frustrated. There are a few very moving scenes between Danny and Mason, but the most touching one is a fishing trip between Mason and his father. There is also an interesting scene that becomes nice symbolism with a man who spends time every day on train tracks because he hasn’t gotten over his wife’s death.



THE BOTTOM LINE: Well-written, poignant and heartbreaking! The scenery and cinematography are nothing short of breathtaking.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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