SXSW Film Review: ‘The Wait’ starring Chloë Sevigny

Jena Malone and Chloë Sevigny in "The Wait"

Jena Malone and Chloë Sevigny in "The Wait"

For the first time, PopBytes is covering South by Southwest (SXSW), the film, music and interactive festival where everyone in any of these industries flock to Austin, Texas to work and play. Bands and artists come to play corporate and not-so-corporate showcases. This year Prince and Depeche Mode are serenading folks lucky enough to weasel a way into their shows. It’s where movies like Harmony Korine‘s Spring Breakers starring Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens have red carpet premieres. It’s where you can play with the newest phones, apps and other tech-buzzworthy things you’ll hear about this year. Twitter even launched here! And what would the world be without Twitter?

Sunday night, PopBytes was able to attend the world premiere of indie darling Chloë Sevigny‘s new film The Wait. It also features Jena Malone (Saved!, Stepmom), and Luke Grimes, who played the illegitimate son of William Walker in ABC’s Brothers & Sisters. In this heavy supernatural and psychological meditation on the death of a loved one, director, M. Blash holds his audience’s attention by utilizing every aspect film has to offer. Soundtrack (The Cure), sound design, score (Owen Pallett of Final Fantasy, Arcade Fire fame), cinematography and strong visuals to just name a few.

Jena Malone plays the younger sister, Angela who is the pragmatic one, while Chloë Seviginy’s Emma plays the spiritual, free-spirited sister. The death of their mother brings them together in this beautiful house in the mountains and lakes of rural Oregon. After Emma receives a mysterious phone call from a woman with a deep southern drawl that suggests her mother could be resurrected from the dead, the film diverges into an honest look into the grieving process of three siblings. From that moment on, the film follows three different trajectories, perceptions (either real or imagined) and dispositions.

Chloë embodies the grieving Emma, in a way that most actors couldn’t. Emma becomes mentally unhinged when dealing with her mother’s death and we watch her wrestle with her spirituality and the biology and reality of their mother’s dead body in the bedroom upstairs.

The Wait is an unusual film, with a complex and layered aesthetic. It’s grounded by a beautiful script in which the actors convincingly portray a very real and mournful time in their lives. Most of all, the landscape of the Pacific Northwest is eerily yet beautifully fitting for M. Blash’s sophomore film. The Wait is a mediation on death which portrays the absurdity yet realistic nature of the grieving process. When asked during the Q&A which followed the premiere if he has ever experienced the death of a loved one and if he were inherently spiritual, Blush said no. “You can still daydream about death,” he replied and that is what this film is … a morbid yet beautiful daydream about something we all will experience one day for ourselves.

About BRUCE RUSSO JR 47 Articles
Bruce is an existential pop culture aficionado and writer from New York. His many vices include the constant consumption of live music, coffee and Taco Bell. If he's not tweeting about his adventures in New York City he's probably holed up in a movie theater watching movies no one has ever heard of. You can follow him on Twitter @octoberxswimmer.