What a lovely, funny little film. I'll save the plot, but just say that it resonated on an imperfect world, we are all flawed and that what makes up beautiful, no happy endings, but salvation anyways. We are fellow travelers in a bright yellow microbus with no clutch.
Toni Collette is a charm. Oh, if only she had gotten the role of Bree in Transamerica - the movie would have been far different, and far better IMHO. She could play a woman of transsexual experience without makeup, without affect, without gimmick - and let the beauty and awkwardness shine through just through her acting chops. If anything, Olive (the daughter) is the child of Muriel Heslop, Ms. Collette's breakout role. An "ugly duckling" who is radiant.
As we left the cinema, a guy in the row behind us was lamenting - of the film being dark and depressing. And I guess, if things like image and beauty and grace and success are important (it seemed a West Hartford / Avon / Simsbury kind of crowd on this particular Friday evening, with all that this implies), well, yeah. These characters, this film, is dark and forboding. There is no quick fix, no simple salvation, no happily ever after. As the family heads back home, they are all diminished, ground down, humbled in some way. And yet - hopeful. Honest.
I compare it to some other dysfunctional family films - the Royal Tennenbaums, the Squid and the Whale. This one, like the yellow VW, is brighter. And kitschier.