Predictable from the Beginning

Review of Janie Jones @ SIFF Cinema by Anna M.

Janie Jones, which opened at Seattle International Film Festival on Friday, tells the tale of Ethan Brand (Allesandro Nivola), a washed up, drunken, unsuccessful indie rock musician and his new-found, 13 year old daughter Janie Jones (Abigail Breslin). Breslin’s character is brash and worldly, no doubt from the negligence of her drug addicted mother (Elizabeth Nivola) who most recently disappeared, leaving her with Ethan. The story develops as Ethan is thrown out of his band, leading him to further resent the presence of his daughter Janie. Eventually they both bond over their mutual musical talent, etc., etc. Sound familiar? It should. This movie is predictable from the beginning, with the cliché and overused plot surrounding an angry and out of touch musician; enter redemption agent, in this case his daughter Janie. Furthermore, this movie dropped f-bombs like Halloween candy, to the point where the powerful word loses its potency and becomes obnoxious. At base, Janie Jones explores the relationship between parent and child, and the shifting of generations. It does so in an, albeit creative but nonetheless ineffective way.

Abigail Breslin in Janie Jones

That being said, it wasn’t all bad. To start out, Breslin, as usual lights up the screen. Her acting brings the inherently exaggerated and annoying character of Janie to the point of being tolerable. This could be said for all the actors; well portrayed but hackneyed characters. I was also surprised to find that Breslin is an awesome singer, which is highlighted throughout the film in multiple solos and duets. In fact, I’ve been humming what I would call the indie/easy listening soundtrack all day. This movie also has some really nice lighting effects and is aesthetically pleasing.

All in all, I would rate this movie six out of ten. If you need something to do in the coming cold, wet, Seattle November, it’s worth seeing, if only for the music and the always lovable Abigail Breslin. But bear in mind that although the movie is not rated, there is an array mature, drug related, content and offensive language.

NOTE: Contains mature content. Recommended for ages 17+.

Janie Jones
Through November 3
SIFF Cinema

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