Voted top film at the Local Sightings fest last fall, Brady Hall's debut feature is set out in the sticks, far from Seattle, in an unspecified place full of small-town longing and mired ambition. Everyone dreams of bigger things, without quite being prepared to move toward them. The dilemma presses hardest on orphaned fraternal twins June, who wants to escape, and her brother July, who's happy to stay put. These two bored 20somethings paint, party, and tend a pair of roaming turtles, and the movie's initial pacing reflects their aimless lives. Then, unexpectedly, plot starts seeping in, which makes Hall's tardy tempo seem more calculated. There's an unhurried mossy regionalism at work here, and the likeable—if mostly amateurish—cast never brackets these yearning characters in snark or 'tude. Whether it's July (Nathan Williams) pedaling his bike to work at a thrift shop or June (Bernadette Culvo) on a drunken date, texture matters more than incident. A rainy climate of inwardness prevails, as everyone waits for the weather to break. Hall maintains this mood more successfully than the parallel story of June's surprising, latent potential. For which reason, his jolting finale forces a conclusion on plot strands that, like the siblings, prove fundamentally incompatible.
Culvo keeps her talents hidden.
June & July Runs at Northwest Film Forum, Fri., July 20–Thurs., July 26. Not rated. 85 minutes.
Note: Hall will attend the opening night shows (free to high school students), and musician David Bavas performs afterward.