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Take Me to the River 

Wednesday, Mar 30 2016
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Not that it's a competition, but as recent movies by first-time directors about disastrous family gatherings go, Matt Sobel's Take Me to the River deserves to get all the accolades that have been somewhat bafflingly heaped on Krisha. At a reunion in rural Nebraska, gay Californian teenager Ryder (Logan Miller) intends to come out to his relatives, but his mother Cindy (Robin Weigert) asks him to please stay in the closet for a little while longer, mmmkay? He's un-Cornhusker enough to ruffle the feathers of his uncle Keith (Josh Hamilton) and his jock-ish cousins regardless, but things turn truly odd when a trip into a barn with his adoring 9-year-old cousin Molly (Ursula Parker) ends with her running out screaming and slightly bloodied. Older and darker family secrets between Cindy and Keith begin to bubble up, but unlike Krisha, every scene advances the story — and bros bro-ing out is treated here with the disdain it deserves — although exactly what's happening remains unclear. Take Me to the River is Picnic at Hanging Rock-level cagey about its central mysteries, and while many of its characters know what happened off-screen in both the recent and distant past, they ain't sharing the details with us, just their pain. Which is pretty much how families are.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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