Julia Dyer

the_playroom-1

The Playroom constantly states the obvious. For instance, nearly every time some finishes their drink, they proclaim, “I need a drink!” There is a also close-up of a newspaper article announcing the arrest of Patty Hearst, in case we didn’t catch that it takes place in the 1970s. More examples of this occur throughout the film, but said obviousness in direction quickly grows tiring – just give the audience some more credit. Directed by Julia Dyer, and scripted by her sister Gretchen Dyer, The Playroom tells the story of one evening in the lives of four suburban children, cared for chiefly by their teenage sister Maggie (newcomer Olivia Harris), as they are sequestered in their upstairs playroom while their parents Martin and Donna (John Hawkes and Molly Parker) get increasingly drunk and debaucherous downstairs with another couple, Clark and Nadia (Jonathan Brooks and Lydia MacKay). To disguise their feelings of abandonment, they weave tales of how they plan to escape to a place where there are no adults, though new revelations and heartbreak creep into their fantasy world. Hawkes, Parker, and Harris all turn in impressive performances, though their skilled portrayals are not enough to make this film rise above mediocrity. The direction is straightforward, the story trajectory nearly flat lines, and an attempted narrative device poorly executed.

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