A version of this review originally appeared April 6.
It's 1979, Long Island, and no matter where you are, says high-schooler Adrianna (Emma Roberts), you can hear the train. In Lymelife, a jagged meditation on suburban angst and adolescence, the place just isn't big enough to escape the noise.
Or escape the deer ticks that give the film its title - Lyme as in Lyme disease. Adrianna's father, Charlie (Timothy Hutton), is afflicted. Out of work and half out of his mind, he pops his meds and totes a hunting rifle ominously through the trees.
Lymelife - directed by Derick Martini from a screenplay cowritten with his brother, Steven - covers ground well-trod by Cheever and Yates, by films like The Ice Storm and American Beauty. But the cast is ferociously good, bringing an edgy unpredictability to familiar scenarios of infidelity, alienation, and betrayal.
Alec Baldwin's Mickey is an upwardly mobile real estate developer, cheating on his wife, Brenda (Jill Hennessy), with his coworker, Melissa (Cynthia Nixon). She's wed to Charlie and mother to Adrianna.
Mickey and Brenda's 15-year-old, Scott (Rory Culkin), has his own issues: He's in love with Adrianna, he's being bullied by a fellow student, and his older brother (Kieran Culkin) has left to join the Army.
Lymelife is at its best in the scenes with Scott and Adrianna (scared, tender, hormonal), and when Baldwin is on camera. His Mickey is a guy at once self-aware and self-destructive. Or not so much self-destructive as selfish, damaging his relationships with his wife and his sons, for what?
- Steven Rea