"All you do is take breaks."
VIFF 2015—Girls actor Christopher Abbott gives an absolute showcase of his range of emotions and acting skills as the title character in James White. Indie producer turned first-time writer/director Josh Mond's semi-autobiographical character drama is about a son dealing with grief and his self-destructive tendencies amidst family turmoil.
Abbott's James could so easily be just another selfish brat epitomizing irresponsibility and stereotypes of the contemporary angry young male, but instead, he and Mond fully express the toll of family trauma and illness. Cynthia Nixon as James' cancerous, dying mother embraces her own personal history with a tragic grace and heart-wrenching emotional breadth.
Abbott's performance channels all the frustrations of a New York writer wannabe artist with an aggressive yet still heart-filled candour. He surely makes the case for his up and coming leading man status inhabiting nearly every moment and frame of the compelling drama. James might be an erratic, entitled, selfish jerk but Abbott still manages somehow to express these qualities honestly and endearingly to identify with in a way those who love and tolerate him surely do.
James White is a triumph of a pure emotionally journey as written and filmed by a young filmmaker capturing a raw and honest performance from an actor. Mond and Abbott are so able to get across small character moments of fragility and trauma as it happens in a wholly captivating fashion. It's a striking filmmaking debut from Mond and intimate close-up look at Abbott's raw acting talents.
James White screened at the 2015 Vancouver International Film Festival.
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