This is an under the radar kick ass flick. Ashby is a coming of age movie with some familiar themes. By rights this should be a flop considering the cast and the distribution. It’s the modern day equivalent of a straight-to-video release that should develop a cult following.
The story follows a high school nerd Ed (Nat Wolff) coping with an absentee father, a sexually active mother June (Sarah Silverman), a budding love interest Eloise (Emma Roberts) and a mysterious neighbor Ashby (Mickey Rourke). The film moved quick and thus some of the character identities were left superficial. However in terms of story and message Ashby hits a home run. Personal strength, compassion, and grace in the face of adversity are the themes of this picture.
Ed discovers a dangerous secret about his new neighbor, which develops into a bond. They help each other cope with the pitfalls of youth and retirement. Emma Roberts reaffirms why she can step out from behind her father and aunt’s shadow and have her own career. Moreover, Sarah Silverman is as funny as ever with a new twinge of caring. She is totally believable as a caring mother who wants the best for her geek of a son.
Mickey Rourke has been getting better with age. We all loved his performance in The Wrestler. Over the last ten years he has been largely absent from the public eye but with the aforementioned film made a due return. His return reminds us of his Diner and Pope of Greenwich Village days.
I give this movie, 4 out of 5 screens. It is worth a watch.
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