KRYSTAL – A Review by Cynthia Flores
The racing heart of a young man is at the center of this odd new film from director William H. Macy.
The film starts out with the lead Taylor Ogburn (Nick Robinson) telling us, in a very thick southern drawl, why he is the way he is. A heart condition found when he was a child, called PAT, meant that when he’s overwhelmed his heart will go into arrhythmia.
He’s eighteen years old now and has avoided being involved with life, or anything that would make his heart race. That includes falling in love. He has lead a quiet life running the Greenwood Art Gallery for his boss Vera (Kathy Bates) in his small town. His father, Wyatt (William H Macy), is a scholar and author that believes there is no devil or other such nonsense. His mother, Poppy (Felicity Huffman), writes poetry that she reads to the whole family in an even thicker southern drawl. And his older brother, Campbell (Grant Gustin), is a well known artist that is disenfranchised by love completely. In other words your typical southern family, at least how the Yankees see us all.
Everything changes once he meets a stranger on the beach. Her name is Krystal (Rosario Dawson) and she walked up to him, soaking wet in her t-shirt asking for a ride or phone to call a ride. He’s struck by her beauty and this triggers an attack of PAT. She takes him to the hospital and faints at his bedside at the thought of blood. Thus, the unlikely romance between the two begins.
Taylor sees her walking across the street days after his first meeting with her and he follows her into a building. He doesn't know that what he's walking into is an Alcoholic Anonymous meeting that his boss goes to as well. Vera thinks that he's there because he needs help. At the meeting Crystal stands up and gives her testimony which fills us in on the fact that she's an alcoholic and drug addict who has done as she says “the stripper thing, the hooker thing, the heroin thing.” Taylor hears how broken she is and how hard she has worked to be clean. Of course as this story goes, he falls in love.
This film sounds like something Falkner would have written but without the substance of his characters or story lines. Also there’s magical thinking in the form of a “Devil” that Taylor has seen since he ran over his dog when he was a child. That devil pops up in clever and not so clever ways throughout the movie.
I really wanted to like this film because of the cast and it’s director. But the story is all over the place and even though there are good moments they are not sustained throughout the film. I felt that this film, Krystal, would have been a lot better if it had made up it’s mind what kind of a movie it wanted to be. Either a thoughtful coming of age story or an all out quirky southern tale. By straddling the fence it’s neither. For this reason I give it a D rating.
Directed by William H. Macy
Written By Will Aldis
Selig Rating D
Running Time 1hr 30min
Drama / Comedy
Limited Release April 13th AMC Grapevine Mills 30 and AMC the Parks at Arlington
Starring: Nick Robinson, Rosario Dawson, Grant Gustin, William H. Macy, Kathy Bates, Felicity Huffman
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.