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Inspired by writer-director Marc Meyers’s memories of his grandfather’s last days, Harvest is a skillfully scripted story of family dynamics set in a scenic Connecticut town. College student Josh (Jack Carpenter) interrupts his intended summer at rented beach house with friends to return home, where his mother has been tending to her aging parents. Josh’s grandfather Siv (Robert Loggia), the family patriarch, seems strong but is only in a period fo remission from pancreatic cancer. His wife Yetta (Barbara Barrie) is in an advanced stage of Alzheimer’s disease.

Because Siv, a successful businessman, held such sway over the lives of his children, the family is at a loss to know where they will be headed after his death. Son Benny (Arye Gross) still lives at home, having never married, but his altruism seems tempered by self-interest. Brother Carmine (Peter Friedman) seldom visits because of bad blood with Benny. Josh’s mother Anna (Victoria Clark, a Tony award winner for The Light in the Piazza) is caught in the middle: Already feeling like a second-class child in a family that prizes its men, she feels her efforts to care for her parents are underappreciated in the light of her divorce.

Petty squabbles never seem small to the people experiencing them, and while this family’s dirty laundry may be no worse than is found in many closets, Harvest unfolds their secrets with patience and sympathy. Meyers has a talent for building his plot dramatically, through character interaction rather than expository dialogue. It goes on a wee bit too long to diminishing effect (there’s a death scene that is the weakest part of the film). But overall it is a satisfying actors’ showcase that will resonate to at least some degree with most viewers.

m. faust

Watch the trailer for Harvest

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