Lymelife (15)

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The Independent Culture

This melancholic study of suburban malaise in the late 1970s has a shiver of The Ice Storm about it. Rory Culkin plays Scott, a sensitive, pasty 15-year-old with a crush on his neighbour Adrianna (Emma Roberts), who only wants to date older boys.

Their respective parents are in turmoil, two of them locked in bleak adultery (Alec Baldwin, Cynthia Nixon), her cuckolded father (Timothy Hutton) a gun-toting depressive and his mother (Jill Hennessy) hiding behind a brittle "happy" face. Writer-director Derick Martini, working from a semi-autobiographical script, neatly catches the yearning mood of a lovelorn teenager, and draws strong performances across the board: Rory Culkin and Emma Roberts are terrific, so too Hutton and Baldwin as the delusional dads. On the debit side, a clumsy symbolism intrudes (a Monopoly board drops and scatters over the floor) and a slight feeling of déjà vu pervades its depiction of unhappy families. But it has a tender heart, and the imprimatur of Martin Scorsese as executive producer.