The Beach House (2020) | SHUDDER
The Extraordinary Ordinary hopes to show how difficult the everyday can be for people with trauma, but also how extraordinary their lives and connections can be. Unfortunately, it fails to hit higher than a mediocre level.
There are times within the film where we see solid use of imagery and light which help us feel truly engaged with the story and its characters. Unfortunately, there are just as many, if not more, awkwardly shot or performed scenes that don’t flow in succession and push the audience away from the film rather than bringing them in. The movie as a whole films slightly oddly, with an overall muted tone to it, and despite the promise it holds, a stronger edit perhaps could have helped hone in on the story it really wanted to tell.
Centered on Erica as she moves across the country for school, she hides a history of trauma and poor mental health as she tries to create new relationships with kindred spirits Bianca and Alex. There is some good in the plot, and when it hits the right notes it sells them, but there is too much faff and filler clogging up the narrative to ever really feel engaged with the storyline. Equally, the subplots involving Erica’s controlling but dismissive parents is terribly misplaced and feels jarring. By the time the film does get to anything substantial, the payoff is hardly worth it, and I found myself losing interest often.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Whilst most of the cast give their best performances (Maddison Bullock and Ana Marte in particular), they all feel like they’re acting in completely different films. Bullock’s Erica is shy and timid, whereas Marte’s Bianca is wild and uninhibited. It’s difficult to envision a reality where they truly would engage with each other as they are at completely different sides of the spectrum. Love interest Alex has walked off of a teen soap, and Erica’s mother appears to have been written as a pantomime villain. The imbalance in performances and dialogue from characters means the audience can’t truly settle in and go with the flow of the film, instead constantly chopping and changing with the whims of the performers.
... fails to hit higher than a mediocre level
THE EXTRAORDINARY ORDINARY (2020)
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
The styling of the film feels authentic to the live-in experience of a campus, and the subtle use of flashback is also well done.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Distracting and disengaging, the score adds little to the story, and at times even took away from the substance of dialogue.
Hidden within The Extraordinary Ordinary is a solid look at the impact past trauma can play in our futures and how we make connections in the world, but like its lead character, the film seems too scared to deal with or actually address any of these issues head on.