Movie review & movie overview of Fourth of July (2022)

Joe List, who wrote the screenplay, plays Jeff. He lives in New York City, has been recovering for a few years, is in a stable relationship with his girlfriend Beth (Sarah Tollemache, List’s real life partner) and is at a point where he feels confident enough to go out to other people. assist in recovery. But he suffers from recurring nightmares about injuring pedestrians with his car, forcing them to flee before he can find out who they are or how badly they were injured. Louis CK plays the therapist who tells Joe about his dream. (Make that what you will.) Jeff doesn’t like to talk about his family. And he makes a point of refusing to talk about his mother. The subject of his upbringing is a minefield that he dares not enter.

The film takes time to get to the point where Jeff pursues personal catharsis by driving across the state to his hometown in rural Maine to meet his father (Robert Walsh), mother (Paula Plum), and extended family (including Nick Di Paolo). as uncle) and Richard O’Rourke as Jeff’s grandfather). They are a bunch of reactionaries who greet Jeff’s arrival with a torrent of casual homophobia and other bigots and who make the only black person at the event, the recently widowed Naomi (Tara Pacheco), uncomfortable by drawing attention to her race. and her recent tragedy. Jeff feels miserable in their presence, and he should be, but he still feels obliged to face them and force them to investigate their role in damaging his psyche.

But by that point in the film, we may have already given up hope of seeing a family story told with insight, humor, and originality. CK and List spend forever and a day on little vignettes about Jeff’s life with Beth (which is lame) and his recovery group, and there are scenes exploring his work as a live musician that contribute nothing to our understanding of the characters (although it nice to see live jazz playing on screen for a long time, even if the piano fake is obvious).

Once Jeff is in the state, the listless self-indulgence continues, with pointlessly finicky cutaway montage (especially during piano scenes) and expressionistic lighting (green means fear or something). These and other moviemaking tools (including the widescreen ones) seem meant to enrich a thin story that clearly meant a lot to the people who wrote it. But the sum of “Fourth of July” has the same effect on the viewer as being trapped at a party with a nice but boring person who decides to tell you their entire life story without even asking your name.