Film Review: Golden Exits

Alex Ross Perry’s observational Golden Exits offers good performances and a meditative look at lives of young and middle-aged adults.

Naomi is a young intern who travels to New York to work temporarily with an archivist. Her arrival disrupts the lives of two families in Brooklyn…

Golden Exits revolves around the lives of a group of characters which are somewhat intertwined. The film focuses on Naomi as a catalytic force, making the main characters examine their relationship with their loved ones and themselves.

Writer-director Alex Ross Perry does not take the predictable route, and he should be applauded for this. Instead, the film concentrates on already fractious relationships. There is a certain amount of navel-gazing in the film. The protagonists are upper middle class, and imbue the trappings of this world. Some of the concerns are only applicable to those of such a class, but this is acknowledged.

The first half of Golden Exits is stronger than the second. There is an ambiguity over the direction the film will take, which holds the viewer’s attention. The second half lacks the vim of this as events unfold subtly. The relationship between the sets of sisters become more significance, as the single sisters take on more importance.

The film is about relationships, but also about being comfortable defying societal expectations. In this sense Naomi’s character extinguishes slightly. There is not much for her to do, leaving the emphasis on the two single sisters. The conversations later in the film point to an empowerment in independence, but a gnawing dissatisfaction. Save for a brief reference, it is refreshing to see adulthood being viewed without the framing reference of having children.

Emily Browning and Chloë Sevingny give decent performances. It is Mary-Louise Parker, Lily Rabe, and Jason Schwartzman who really stand out though. The score feels a little too present, whilst Brooklyn is romanticised, despite most of the action taking place in just a few locations.

Overall, it feels like Golden Exits stops just short of saying something truly meaningful.

Golden Exits is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2017.

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