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Dandelion (2004)Dandelion (2004)

The case of this DVD boasts five festival awards and the promise of "redemption" for its characters, but I was left wondering why on both counts. There are at least nine suicide scenes in this film, mainly imagined, but one of which is very real. Teenager Mason grows up in a horribly dysfunctional family where dinners are characterized by a raging father (Luke), a people-pleasing, pill-popping, and alcoholic mother (Leila), and a crazy uncle (Bobby) who thinks that World War II is raging and who dies in an asylum. A tragic accident strikes that feeds on their dysfunction. Enter a young girl (Danny) whose mom is a passive-aggressive, drifter single parent. Danny enjoys drugs, alcohol, and admits that she has "a thing for things that aren't good for me." But put Danny and Mason in a lush meadow with a brilliant blue sky, undulating grass, and an idyllic pond, and what do you get? Redemption? No. On an improbable fishing trip with his son Mason, father Luke described every character in this film: "You wake up one day and nothin's the way it's supposed to be. So you try to keep goin', takin' down the people you love the most right with ya. And for some reason you can't admit that until you've already lost them."

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