Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Sacha Baron Cohen Reportedly Returning To Write, Produce, Star In & Direct The Freddie Mercury Biopic Sacha Baron Cohen Reportedly Returning To Write, Produce, Star In & Direct The Freddie Mercury Biopic Watch: James Bond Is Back In First Trailer For 'Spectre' Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, & More Watch: James Bond Is Back In First Trailer For 'Spectre' Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, & More Terrence Malick's Next Film With Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara & Michael Fassbender Reportedly Gets Titled Terrence Malick's Next Film With Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara & Michael Fassbender Reportedly Gets Titled Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Bloody And Bruised In First Trailer For Boxing Drama 'Southpaw' Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Bloody And Bruised In First Trailer For Boxing Drama 'Southpaw' New Infographic Lays Out Canonical 'Star Wars' Timeline With Films, TV And Books New Infographic Lays Out Canonical 'Star Wars' Timeline With Films, TV And Books First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Watch: Explore The Loneliness Of Sofia Coppola's Films With This Supercut Watch: Explore The Loneliness Of Sofia Coppola's Films With This Supercut 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Trailer For 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Unrated Blu-Ray Edition, Will Also Feature An Alternate Ending Watch: Trailer For 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Unrated Blu-Ray Edition, Will Also Feature An Alternate Ending New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Tribeca Review: ‘Goodbye To All That’ Starring Paul Schneider, Melanie Lynskey, Anna Camp & More

The Playlist By Rodrigo Perez | The Playlist April 25, 2014 at 4:16PM

Shades of grey are important to well-rounded portraits of human beings. Otto Wall is not a total fuck up. He has a job, a marriage and is a loving father to his 9-year-old daughter Eddie. But Otto Wall doesn’t quite have his shit together either. Just a tad irresponsible and perennially unlucky, Otto’s not quite unreliable, but he’s seemingly also just a little bit… defective. A careless driving accident that lands him in the hospital and mercifully doesn’t harm his daughter appears to be keeping in character. But it also acts as a catalyst for his exasperated wife Annie. So Otto is utterly blindsided when Annie, sick of it all, files for a divorce.
0
Goodbye To All That
IFC Films "Goodbye to All That"

Shades of grey are important to well-rounded portraits of human beings. Otto Wall is not a total fuck up. He has a job, a marriage and is a loving father to his 9-year-old daughter Eddie. But Otto Wall doesn’t quite have his shit together either. Just a tad irresponsible and perennially unlucky, Otto’s not quite unreliable, but he’s seemingly also just a little bit… defective. A careless driving accident that lands him in the hospital and mercifully doesn’t harm his daughter appears to be keeping in character. But it also acts as a catalyst for his exasperated wife Annie. So Otto is utterly blindsided when Annie, sick of it all, files for a divorce.

Thunderstruck, the dumbfounded Otto stumbles around trying to make sense of his suddenly collapsed life. He moves out almost immediately, discovers Annie was having an affair, and struggles to keep afloat while still trying to stay in Eddie’s life. But all kinds of women begin to unexpectedly enter his life, and so begins Otto’s post-divorce journey: one full of confusion, marital heartache, liberating sex, newfound relationships, parental anguish and exciting/scary new beginnings. It would be so easy for “Goodbye To All That,” the directorial debut of “Junebug” screenwriter Angus MacLachlan, to get dark and anguished. And while it has its share of pain, the winning indie drama is refreshingly funny, sweet and full of humanity.

Goodbye To All That

MacLachlan already demonstrated a knack for many sharp, funny and dolorous observations in the North Carolina-set “Junebug,” and by returning to the same locale, he scores big once again. But truthfully, “Goodbye To All That” would have worked anywhere. Pitched in a minor, low-key tune not unlike something like Jim Jarmusch’s restrained and quietly funny “Broken Flowers,” the movie is both gentle and yet surprisingly funny and even sexy.

As the broken, but not defeated Otto, Paul Schneider, who deservedly just won the Tribeca Film Festival award for Best Actor, turns in his best performance since his breakthrough role in David Gordon Green’s “All The Real Girls.” Your heart pours out for Otto Wall struggling to keep it together, but his terrific turn never asks for your empathy. A top-notch cast of indie character actors surround him: Melanie Lynskey plays his ex-wife; Heather Graham appears as an old flame raring to go; Ashley Hinshaw is a fuck buddy from the Internet; Michael Chernus is a friend in enraptured disbelief to hear about his newfound sexual conquests; and Anna Camp (“Pitch Perfect,” hysterical here) plays a rather looney new paramour. The movie also features excellent turns by Audrey Scott, Amy Sedaris, Celia Weston and especially Heather Lawless as a childhood girlfriend, whose soothing presence despite her own life calamities opens him up to the further possibilities of life and how to survive.

Sensitive and well-observed, MacLachlan has a great ear not only for dialogue, but capturing genuine and complicated human behavior. In a lesser movie, Melanie Lynskey’s Annie is the antagonist. In a lesser movie, Otto is a total screw-up and his failings are pronounced. But “Goodbye To All That” has an even hand and doesn’t paint Lynskey (or anyone else, really) as the bad guy, because while we’re sympathetic to his point of view, it’s understood that Otto is rough around the edges. Blame and fault is never black and white.

Goodbye To All That

Full of disarming, awkward humor, MacLachlan also understands that human reactions to awful news is sometimes counter-intuitive. A scene where Annie and her therapist (Weston) jointly tell the flabbergasted Otto that their marriage is finished is wry and hilarious. Likewise, when Otto’s daughter tells her dad she doesn’t feel safe or tells him something inadvertently insulting, all the hopeless guy can do is smile and hang on. The joys of sex also play an unexpectedly large element of Otto’s recovery and these scenes, raw and sensual and refreshingly well-handled are just as complicated, funny and well-drawn as any of his other life experiences.

“Goodbye To All That” never dares to sentimentalize, but the performances and tones are so well played that the movie is tenderly wistful in all the exact moments. As Otto tries to find his bearings, navigates love, rediscovers sex and negotiates the difficulties of being a good father as a divorcee, he never quite figures it out. But this endearing depiction of his struggle is really moving, sad and humorous.

Shot in rather basic form with straightforward lighting, “Goodbye To All That” is not going to impress the visual, form or style cinephiles of the world, but it really shouldn’t matter. The content is tops. And as an astute and empathetic portrait of human crisis, resolve and survival, it’s a wonderfully authentic and perfectly touching one. [A-]

Browse through all our coverage of the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival by clicking here.

Goodbye To All That
Goodbye To All That
IFC Films Angus MacLachlan (far left) on the set of "Goodbye to All That"

This article is related to: Goodbye To All That, Paul Schneider, Michael Chernus, Heather Graham, Ashley Hinshaw, Melanie Lynskey, Audrey Scott, Amy Sedaris, Celia Weston, Reviews, Review, Tribeca Film Festival, Angus MacLachlan


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome

E-Mail Updates