Alex/October is an emotional drama inflected with genuine comedy exchanges, set in a bleak Chicago winter. This indie gem was the equal of a major studio release.
It is the story of two misfits at stages of crisis in their lives. Alex is a self-destructive recovering alcoholic on the precipice of slipping back because of a family tragedy that cannot be put right. And October is in the throes of a quarterlife impasse having been pushed to the brink because of a history of parental neglect.
The stunner in this film: the depth of the on-screen performances.
Brad Hunt (Alex) recalled for me Casey Affleck’s Oscar winning turn In Manchester by the Sea. He brings to this story – in an wholly original way – the heartbreak of a father who suffers in his inability to reverse his personal history. Both heart breaking and yet thrilling to witness as his life falls apart, Alex struggles to keep his family together. And we empathize with that. Brad Hunt connected with every parent’s unspoken fear of failing his children. Stunning. His counterpart October, actress Tara Shayne, is a young woman that crashes into his life in what seems at first a perverse prank but becomes a heartfelt connection. She helps him find his way with a sly chemistry in intuitive moments of connection that creates a bond between them and propels the narrative. Together, the platonic relationship they illuminate onscreen is rare and true. And as we come to understand – desperately necessary for their survival. Credit producer Lisa Freberg and director Josh Hope for sterling choices in bringing this story to an audience. In a theatre or at home on a streaming platform, I hope the public at large will be able to discover this special film someday soon.