“Like Sunday, Like Rain” is an indie film, released to festivals in 2014, starring Leighton Meester and Julian Shatkin, and directed by Frank Whaley. I watched it a couple nights ago after coming across it on On- Demand and my expectations were a little low. First of all, Leighton Meester will always coexist with her Gossip Girl character, in my mind, which means I kind of write her off as a weak actor (last year I went through a phase where I watched the show continuoulsy- I must have been mentally unstable or something because like what the hell was I doing- the show was terrible). Secondly, the whole -genius kid who teaches someone older, life lessons- trope has been done so many times already. But both of these fears were irrational because the film was actually quite good. It follows the story of Eleanor, a struggling musician, who finds companionship in Reggie, a 12 year old prodigy/cellist, when she takes a job as his nanny.
What sets this film apart from others that deal with the same subject is its treatment of the relationship between the two characters. While most nanny vs. kid situations are always the bratty tug of war type or the staunch nanny and the freewheeling kid type, the relationship between Eleanor and Reggie is completely different. It’s a quiet one, reflective and subtle, more natural and mutual. They form a bond that doesn’t recognize age but emotional connection. As the movie progresses, so does their bond, and at times it seems to verge on romance but an innocent kind, a romantic connection between their mental traits more so then physical traits. There’s a kind of “If we were different ages in a different time” aspect to it. It reminds me of “Lost in translation”- an older man and a young married woman form a deep, somewhat romantic bond, and then a kid and a 20 something year old who also form a bond based on their need for companionship.
Plot wise, There really isn’t much going on- conflict never really arises between Reggie and Eleanor, which makes character development/ arch fall a little short, putting them out of the audiences reach at times. conflict arises more outside of their relationship; with Eleanor’s family and boyfriend, and Reggie’s isolation and distant mom. The writing is pretty good- natural and affective for the most part- but at times Reggie is almost to precocious, too mature sounding. Some of the things he says sound obviously like they were written by someone trying to make sure the audience knows just how smart and precocious he is, but I could kind of overlook it because the other aspects such as the cinemtagrophy and the acting(aside from Billie Joel Armstrong) we’re spot on. It was a beautifully shot film, just absolutely wonderful. The cinematography really fit the mood and while a few shots were predictable and calculated, overall everything was very fluid and natural, and went beautifully with the score. The performances from the two leads were great as well, and Leighton really redeemed herself; she was so natural and just made the role her own by disappearing into it, giving life to it. There was such a delicacy and vulnerability to both Leightons and shatkins acting and chemistry, and it made their relationship easy to watch and invest emotion in.
“Like Sunday, like rain” is more of a bittersweet character study than anything else; there aren’t any major life lessons learned or crazy plot twists. Like I said earlier, it’s quiet and reflective, it doesn’t lend itself to anything other than subtly and simplicity. While it is flawed and certainly not huge award material, it was an enjoyable film that I found to be emotional and soothing at the same time- like listening to a piano on a Sunday while it rains-“like Sunday,like rain.” 8.5/10