In a climate of social distance, movie folk have figured out a way to keep us Covid-19 safe. It’s called a drive-in, and they are all the rage. You sit in your own car -bubble with familial germs and whip off your mask. And most importantly—you get the heck out of the house! My BF and I ventured into the wilds of Hollywood where we wedged into an empty parking lot and newly minted (for the night) makeshift drive-in to see a screening of The Place of No Words, to our right sat what looked like a boy band in a convertible and to our left were a couple who seemed to disappear into their bucket seats as the movie progressed….I know, I’m supposed to be looking at the screen….well, I did that too…
The Place of No Words is a fantasy about death from the perspective of a three- year old boy (a very blonde precious adorable kid who happens to be the writer/director/star’s son.) Mark Webber is the triple hyphenate, and he also uses his real-life wife (Teresa Palmer) to play his wife in the movie. (Webber has previously made three films with his family in addition to this one.)
The film starts with a simple question from Webber’s son Bodhi: “where do I go when I die?”
This triggers a grand adventure where the father and son are tossed between a magical world of angels and goblins back to hospital rooms and birthday parties. It’s obvious that dad is dying and he’s trying to lay the groundwork for his son to understand the very enormous concept of death and moving on—heavy stuff for a three- year old.
The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last year and it is beautifully shot, amazing work by cinematographer Patrice Lucien Cochet. The story is another matter because it’s poorly written. Apologies to the family but I felt like I was watching a very long epic home movie.
The Place of No Words has an intriguing concept—but the execution is a mess. The story jumped around so much with so little dialogue it left me confused and bewildered. Shot in both Wales and Los Angeles, the film would’ve made an interesting short. Little Bodhi, who dominates almost every scene is adorable, but he doesn’t play out for over 90 minutes—especially when I ran out of Skittles and Skinny Pop.
(A note to our humble readers: there is no way out of a drive-in.)
The Place of No Words— (of which I’ve run out) opens Oct. 23rd.