Crazy Because It’s Fiction: Our Review of ‘Strange But True’

Crazy Because It’s Fiction: Our Review of ‘Strange But True’

Rowan Athale’s Strange but True deserves enough credit in that it has a good mix of innocuous scenes with more baffling ones. There is enough of a character, Melissa (Margaret Qualley), hanging out and arriving at cottage that she rents. That scene comes after she visits a young man, Philip (Nick Robinson), and his mother Charlene (Amy Ryan). She tells them is pregnant with their dead brother and son Ronnie’s (Connor Jessup) baby. Ok, so either she’s telling the truth or she’s lying.

Either way, Strange but True’s first act has Philip and Charlene doing their own research in the matter. Of course, this doesn’t help them find the truth. Philip visits one of Melissa’s old friends (Mena Massoud), but all this old friend does is tell him things he already knows. At least these scenes show how much this tragedy takes its toll on him, looking mope in comparison to everyone around him. The same goes for Charlene, whose fact-finding search involves yelling at people in the library where she used to work.

Strange but True’s has a mystical air to it since it is, after all, about a possible immaculate conception. And of course, a thriller with such a premise can present itself however it wants and incorporate any style it wants. It then can, in layman’s terms, be ethereal crazy or psycho crazy. But it takes too long to make that decision, as its way of procrastinating is to make it as dreary as possible. And some of the younger cast members phone it in instead of pushing toward camp.

The older cast is better in that regard and only slightly, with Ryan being the only person here capable of displaying emotion. As I wrote earlier, Charlene likes to yell at other characters, including her ex-husband (Greg Kinnear). But the watch-ability of that has its limits. She is one of the characters in Eric Garcia’s script who either buries the lead during conversations. Or characters finding things out about the world around them twenty minutes after any smart audience member does.

This thriller eventually decides where to go both plot wise and stylistically in adapting a John Searles novel. Audiences expect a movie like this to go two ways, which means the script must look for a third. There is a shocking reveal here no critic should spoil to any audiences who dare. But it involves a man who has held two jobs that everyone hates at this moment. It also answers the other question it asks during the beginning of why Philip is running in the woods. Either way, this reveal is as dumb as B-films go both in premise and in execution.

This post was written by
While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
Comments are closed.