EUFF 2016: Our Review Of ‘Family Member’

Posted in EUFF 2016, Festival Coverage, Movies, Theatrical by - November 20, 2016
EUFF 2016: Our Review Of ‘Family Member’

If you have ever been under financial strain you have probably imagined ways to get yourself out of trouble.  From dreams of winning the lottery to well devised schemes that live only in our minds, I would guess that we have all, at some point, plotted to improve our station in life.  Family Member, from director Marinos Kartikkis, is the story of a couple who acts on one of these plots.

The film follows George and Sophia, a husband and wife from Cyprus who are struggling financially; trying to keep their store in business while paying the bills and meeting the needs of their children.  When Sophia’s father dies suddenly they formulate a plan to keep his pension which is vital to their financial wellbeing.  The inevitable complications that follow promise to change the family’s future but in different ways than they ever imagined.

Although this sounds like the plot of a suspense film, the movie is actually a family drama with hints of black comedy.  It has an indifference about it, with the serious plot points being treated with the same detached interest as the minutia of the family’s everyday life.  The filmmakers passively observe as the characters participate in sometimes illegal and often morally reprehensible things without judgement or social commentary.

While this may have been the downfall of the movie, the likability of the cast and characters and the even handedness of the directing make it an enjoyable experience.  It allows us to excuse the implausible plot points and questionable character actions and focus on the emotions of the characters and the relationships between them.  In fact, it can be argued that Family Member is not really about the scheme at all but about familial love, personal connections and trying to survive through difficult times.

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Galadriel fell in love with the movies when she was taken to see Superman at the age of three. Legend has it she watched the whole thing standing up with her jaw on the floor. She went on to see Superman four more times in the theatre and developed a lifelong passion for film. Galadriel earned a Bachelor of Arts in Cinema Studies from the University of Toronto which she parlayed into a ten year stint at Blockbuster Video and more recently a career in nursing. But some things never change – she still loves movies and counts Gone with the Wind, Amadeus, The Shawshank Redemption, La Dolce Vita and the films of Michelangelo Antonioni among her favourites. She is also obsessed with the Oscars and knows more about them than any one person should. Galadriel currently lives in Toronto with her husband and young daughter who is soon to see her very first movie in the theatre.