Director: Evan Mathew Weinstein
Cast: Evan Mathew Weinstein, Larisa Polonsky, Joseph R. Gannascoli, Reginald Huc
Tom, cheapest the leading character in the new feature Leaving Circadia is the type of guy that all of us have known at one time or another. Played by Evan Mathew Weinstein, visit this Tom is smart, amiable and confused about his life’s direction. He’s reached the age of thirty and is left with the undeniable question of “What do I do now?”
Tom is the superintendent of several New York City buildings, which are owned by the easily-angered Nat (Sopranos veteran Joseph R. Gannascoli). Tom has lived in the building for seven years and spends his days smoking weed and solving problems in the building whenever they arise. Although he can be lazy at times, when he’s called upon to fix a problem, he can. When asked if he’s happy with his unexciting life, he responds, “No, but I’m not sad.”
When he’s not alone (which he is a lot here), Tom spends much of his time with a group of male friends, who have grown up with him and often use Tom as a sounding board to talk about their own lives. Tom’s friend Will (Zack Griffiths) is the complete opposite of Tom: he’s married and seemingly happy with his own life and work. Tom’s friend Ray (Drew Seltzer), who lives in Tom’s building, seemingly stands on the brink of adulthood. He has a steady girlfriend, who has just informed him that he’s going to be a Dad. None of these guys knows what the next years will bring but they all realize that they’ve reach some sort of a turning point in their lives.
Will Tom continue to work for the domineering Nat, wasting his days away at a job with little chance of promotion? Can Will maintain the happy life that he’s created (and is it as happy as he puts on)? Is Ray prepared to become a father when he doesn’t see himself as an adult to begin with?
Weinstein, who is making his directorial debut here and who also wrote the script, is asking all of the right questions here and examining— in a real and heartfelt way— what it’s like to be in your early 30s today. The script speaks to the idea of growing into an adult and how the idea of “adulthood” changes as you grow up. In college, many people believe that they will have their lives figured out a few years after graduation but the reality is far different. One can find a career or a spouse or a way to make a living and still wonder what else is out there.
Weinstein also taps into the difficulty of building new relationships. In college, such relationships are built easily through dorms, fraternities or sororities. After college, it’s very different with some neighbors who are often too busy or too elitist to reach out to new people. Here Tom attempts to befriend a new snobbish resident named Davis (Reginald Huc), a divorced man with one child, and he starts dating a sweet resident named Collette (Larisa Polonsky). Both of them have built-in biases that Tom must contend with. (Davis doesn’t like Tom immediately while Collette is weary after getting hurt in relationships before).
There are some characters in Leaving Circadia who aren’t given much to do (namely Tom’s other friend Colin) but when it gets to its main story, the film touches something personal and true in showing what it’s like growing up after becoming a grown up. It’s a worthwhile debut from Evan Mathew Weinstein and a smart and knowing look at what it really means to be an adult.
Review by: John Hanlon