movie review: “Loggerheads,” Paste, 2005
Director: Tim Kirkman
Cinematography: Oliver Bokelberg
Starring: Tess Harper, Bonnie Hunt, Michael Kelly, Michael Learned
Studio info: Strand Releasing, 95 minutes
The clear-eyed compassion that runs through writer/director Tim Kirkman’s script is something of a revelation. Nonjudgmental but intensely observant, Kirkman paints richly detailed portraits of people simultaneously facing their own complacency. Mark (Kip Pardue) is a young drifter who journeys to the faded seaside town of Kure Beach, N.C., to save the fragile loggerhead turtles. Grace (Bonnie Hunt) is a woman haunted by the decision she made 19 years ago to give her baby up for adoption. And Robert (Chris Sarandon) and Elizabeth (Tess Harper) are a minister and wife who’ve always played by the Good Book, even at the expense of their family.
Loggerheads, which is based on a true story, is a wistful gem, fully invested in wondering what might’ve been, had different decisions been made, and committed to the notion that there’s still time to set wrongs right. The performances are first-rate: Sarandon’s minister is stoic, but there’s grief in his eyes; Harper’s Elizabeth obediently takes cues from her husband, but also has a rebellious streak, sneaking cigarettes when home alone; and Hunt proves there’s a serious actress beyond her trademark wry smile and sly wisecracks. As Grace, a dispirited woman finally taking charge of her life after years of being manipulated, she’s captivating.