It is a perfect film to remind us how important families are and why mending past hurts can never come soon enough..
The Discoverers is the first project written and directed by Justin Schwarz. Call it beginners luck if you want but this is a heartfelt, top notch effort on both fronts. An endearing film that peels back the layers of family tension to get at the soul of what matters. A perfect cast, and balance of drama and humor makes this a must see for those wanting a solid story with smart, personal dialogue.
Lewis Birch (Griffin Dunne) is a struggling, divorced, author who can't seem to catch a break. It doesn't get any better when a planned weeklong road trip with his two teenaged kids (Madeleine Martin/Devon Graye) takes a sudden U-turn. The three of them soon find themselves on a Lewis and Clark re-enactment trek as Lewis has to watch out for his estranged father (Stuart Margolin); who he hasn't spoken to in years. Though the last place they want to be they soon find it is exactly where they need to be in order to rebuild those important relationships.
This film has a wonderfully leisurely pace with a perfect rhythm. The characters are perfectly conceived and written. Add to that the ability of the cast to breath a fresh life into them and the story blossoms. Madeleine Martin stands out as the moody, Vegan daughter Zoe. She has a sarcastic and dead pan delivery that is addictive to watch. She is a scene stealer and definitely an anchor in the film. Dunne too brings much soul to Lewis Birch and you immediately pull for him and want to see some light shine in his life.
Much of the humor comes from this citified family thrust into the early 1800's Lewis and Clark reenactment. They have to endure it for the sake of Lewis' father. There is a bit of history thrown in too which isn't overbearing but interesting facts. THE DISCOVERERS is not rated but is certainly intended for mature audiences. The language and themes are geared toward those 18 and older. It is a perfect film to remind us how important families are and why mending past hurts can never come soon enough..
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