Drama - Completed 2019

A friendship between two young women over the course of a decade, with one of the friends declining due to an undiagnosed mental illness, and the other helping as best she can, and backing away when she must.

& Awards

Thessaloniki IFF 2019
Official Selection
Mar Del Plata IFF 2019
Autores - Autoras
Berlin, Istanbul, Uruguay, Off Camera, D'A, Subversive, Filmadrid, Champs-Élysées, Melbourne, Vancouver, Mill Valley, FICValdivia 2019
Uruguay - International Competition, Special Mention
    • Year of production
    • 2019
    • Genres
    • Drama
    • Countries
    • USA
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 0 - 0.3 M$
    • Duration
    • 94 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Dan SALLITT
    • Writer(s)
    • Dan SALLITT
    • Producer(s)
    • Caitlin Mae BURKE, Graham SWON
    • Synopsis
    • Mara and Jo, in their twenties, have been close friends since middle school. Jo, the more outgoing personality, is a social worker who runs through a series of brief but intense relationships. Mara, introspective and less uninhibited than Jo, bounces among teacher aide jobs while trying to land a position in elementary education, and writes fiction in her spare time. She too has a transient romantic life, though she seems to settle down after meeting Adam, a mild-mannered software developer. It soon becomes apparent that Jo, despite her intellectual gifts, is unreliable in her professional life, losing and acquiring jobs at a troubling rate. Substance abuse seems the obvious reason for Jo’s instability, but some observers suspect a deeper problem. Jo relies on Mara for support with her personal crises, though her lack of consideration sometimes drives Mara away to recuperate from the strain of being Jo’s friend. Still, the long-time bond between them is too strong to break.

      Just as Mara gets her first full-time teaching job, Jo goes through an unstable patch that ends with her hospitalized for a drug overdose. After Mara’s visit with Jo in their home town of Katonah, NY, Jo’s life seems to improve, with a new job and a stable boyfriend, the older Conor. But the old cycle continues, and after an intrusion by Jo that does no good to Mara and Adam’s shaky relationship, Mara lashes out at her childhood friend. Unable to bear the well-aimed criticism, Jo breaks down in Mara’s living room, incoherently pouring out her anguish at watching herself disintegrate over the years. In the moment of peace that follows the storm, Mara tells Jo that Mara is pregnant.

      Years pass. Mara has a child named Lorelei, and is separated from Adam, though the two remain friends. One day she encounters Jo in a park after a long lapse in their communication. Jo, whose sketchy new companions don’t augur well for her mental health, is delighted to see Mara, and the two meet for coffee and fill each other in on their recent circumstances. But life goes on, and Jo primarily figures in Mara’s adulthood as the protagonist of a bedtime story she tells her daughter, about how Jo saved Mara from bullies in middle school.

      One day Mara gets the long-feared phone call: Jo has died, perhaps a suicide, perhaps of an overdose. Occupied with preparing Lorelei, now five, for the open-casket funeral service, Mara holds together under her loss better than one might expect. But it is only at the service that Lorelei grasps that the girl in the casket is the heroine of her bedtime stories. Lorelei’s distress shatters the composure of Mara, who cries out in public that she tried everything to save Jo, that there was nothing she could do. The unguarded moment is brief: the embarrassed Mara is tended to by friends of the family, and soon Lorelei needs a snack from Mara’s bag. In late-afternoon sunlight, Mara and Lorelei walk away from the funeral home hand in hand, on their way home.