A convincing portrait of a Brooklyn family — a dad, a mom, and two kids — and ‘almost family’, their 20-something babysitter named Emily who sees the kids more than the divorcing parents, and begins to feel trapped in separation wreckage. Not only is her employer family going through a painful break-up, she herself still lives with an ex-boyfriend who is now dating men.
Built around a fantastic lead performance by Emily Davis, who graces each frame with a subtle physicality and naturalism, it’s an impressively captured modern tale, site-specific and wholly authentic. It never aims at cheap plot points, instead sculpting loose vignettes around fully-fleshed out characters who behave like real people. The father, played by Josh Gilbert, in a delicate, impressively no-frills performance, navigates the divorce as well as could be expected but still pines for his old life, “I can almost imagine being married to someone I don’t like,” he tells Emily, in a poignant moment of recognition. It’s clear he wants the old family routine back; Emily never states her motivations as plainly but we begin to notice her yearning for escape.
Almost Family is a smart, literary film that knows its characters deeply and never overshoots. Co-Directors Remy Weber and Nicholas Zeig-Owens arrive at emotional resonance by astutely observing a series of small moments, and it’s a pleasure to watch. 67 minutes.