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Movie Review: “Beside Still Waters” is a Promising Directorial Debut for Chris Lowell

Chris Lowell is most popularly known for his role on Veronica Mars and The Help.  But now he’s stepping behind the camera and taking a shot at directing/screenwriting.

After his parents’ recent passing, Daniel (Ryan Eggold) struggles to find closure.  He invites six of his old friends to visit for the weekend, so that they can say goodbye to the lakeside cabin they spent the majority of their childhood in.  Attending this somber reunion we have… the old flame (Britt Lower) who has brought her new flame (Reid Scott), the jackass (Beck Bennett), the free-spirit (Jessy Hodges), the high school sweet hearts (Will Brill and Erin Darke), and the TV star (Brett Dalton).  Needless to say, the weekend creates drama, rekindles a romance, and reveals “shocking” secrets.

I’m aware we’ve seen this many times before, i.e. The Big Chill, and even the recent indie, drama that came out this past August, About Alex.  So why is Beside Still Waters worth watching?  Because Chris Lowell manages to successfully portray a genuine group of friends who are struggling with their own issues while trying to be there for the one that needs them most.  This is not always the case with films that touch on the same premise.  Take About Alex; their reunion was forced because of a friend’s suicide attempt.  Sounds interesting enough, but sadly, About Alex chose to engage the audience with numerous, unresolved issues that lead nowhere versus any real character development.  This is where Lowell differs.  He keeps his storyline simple and does not veer from the growth of his characters, allowing us to care for each one of them.

Solid performances are given by the entire cast, effectively balancing their selfish tendencies with compassion.  In addition, the film fittingly includes subtle flashbacks of the group when they were kids playing in the cabin.

Beside Still Waters may not stand out as a significant film, but Lowell’s first attempt at writing and directing shows potential for great things to come.  Don’t turn your nose up at the familiarity of this movie, there’s enough authenticity and heart to make it an enjoyable watch.

Rating: 3/5

Beside Still Waters is now playing in select theaters and VOD.

“Beside Still Waters” Official Trailer HD

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