One of the most incredibly acted films to play in the “American Independents” section of the festival was the altogether arresting James White, which also astonishingly counts as the first feature film from Josh Mond (Martha Marcy May Marlene, Producer). Told in month-long chapters during one New York winter, White is the story of a son (Christopher Abbott) whose estranged father’s death and mother’s (Cynthia Nixon) cancer diagnosis forces him to confront his personal demons through self-destructive and reckless behavior, which risks his own demise.
As the titular character and lead role, Abbott is given a wonderful opportunity to showcase his talent in a movie vehicle unlike any before (fans will remember Abbott as controversially leaving the HBO critical darling Girls, for reasons unclear), and that he does.
Abbott…gives an incredible performance not soon to be forgotten.
Abbott, whose unhinged and drunkenly erratic behaviors – evocative of a Streetcar-era Brando – match the reflective and quietly powerful moments as a heartbroken young son, gives an incredible performance not soon to be forgotten. Cynthia Nixon also stuns in delivering some of the best work of her career as a single mother battling cancer in its ugliest and heart-wrenching forms.
Josh Mond’s highly personal story (while not a direct autobiography, the story is lifted from very similar personal experiences) reveals in incredible fashion hardship and the human spirit, and should serve to boost the filmmaker and his actor’s profiles with even more recognition to come.
James White opens in LA on November 20th.