inmiddletonAt Middleton may be a good “date night” choice for those looking for a bit of whimsy and a break from the genre norm.

At Middleton

The new romantic comedy, At Middleton may be a good “date night” choice for those looking for a bit of whimsy and a break from the genre norm. It certainly doesn’t follow the rules when it comes to formulas and stereotypes. Yet it still works for those fearful of treading too far into the experimental waters.

George Hartman (Andy Garcia) and Edith Martin (Vera Farmiga) are strangers attending the same college orientation with their children. George is a straight laced doctor ready to launch his son into the new world of education. Edith is a free spirited mom who isn’t quite ready for her daughter to fly the coupe. When they sneak off together to explore the campus on their own they soon form a bond and find that each has something special to offer.

This feels many times like a stage play. The two main characters interact with one another in a way that causes the background and sets to fade away. Everything becomes simply a prop for them to use on their journey. The surroundings matter little in comparison to the building relationship. That is good or bad depending on how you like the writing. Those who like carefree conversation and an almost improvisational approach will appreciate the rhythms. Farmiga does a perfect job of taking what is on the page and making it so much her own you forget it is scripted.

Andy Garcia has played many characters and it is fun to watch him in this one. His subdued demeanor gets run over by Farmiga’s fanciful character. But behind his eyes you catch a glimpse of playfulness that clues you in that he loves the moment. He can’t let on that he is taken by this insane woman but at the same time he can’t wait to be carried off on the adventure.

This is a love story and like most you have to be willing to love the story. The concept of two strangers falling in love over several hours can’t be broken down and analyzed. It is to be savored by those who enjoy the taste. AT MIDDLETON is rated R for drug use and brief sexuality. Why this has an R rating I will never know. There is one brief outburst of language and a scene of adult partying. Other than that there is nothing in this to feel awkward or embarrassed by. I give it 3.5 out of 5 bike rides. The acting is good and the chemistry works. Not a bad choice for a date night if you like a different path.


Matt Mungle

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My interview with Vera Farmiga