Kris and Lindy Boustedt's THIS IS OURS deals with the complexity of married life and, among other things, what happens when everything you did to live the life you wanted winds up disappointing you. It's a film full of uncomfortable truths and questions of the soul.
You cannot deny that the film has a little something extra in the visual department. Landscape shots have an almost epic feel, and yet personal moments maintain their intimacy. The baseline bar has been rising in recent years regarding what an independent film looks like... and this overachieves.
The acting is solid... the performances allow for subtlety and substance. The superficial is... transcended, and the audience is able to catch glimpses at what is really at the core of everyone's bluster, sadness or anger: fear.
As a married man, I probably watched the film with a bit more 'please don't ever let this happen to me' dread than those without that touchstone, but you don't need that experience to relate to what's going on. Questions, fears and complications regarding expectations and potential universally abound, and the film will ring true.
Not many indie filmmakers capture the raw emotion of married life like writers and directors Kris and Lindy Boustedt. Subtle, yet telling glances, the feeling of being trapped in monotony, and the unspoken damage that couples have done to each other over years of matrimony may not paint the brightest of pictures... but Kris and Lindy tend to inject hope into each of their films.
[The] small details, combined with excellent cinematography, the charisma of all of the actors and actresses, and the stunning locales... make THIS IS OURS a film to watch.
The acting all around is stellar... There's no faking going on in this film, but genuine heart and feeling being put into every scene. The synergy between the actors and directors make this a piece of modern Americana.
The audience is seeing reality unfold in front of them. The audio and soundtrack perfectly compliment the film, and the attention to detail overall puts THIS IS OURS in its own class.
THIS IS OURS, the self-assured second feature from writing/producing/directing team Kris and Lindy Boustedt... is beautifully shot and emotionally charged.
[S]olid performances by leads Karie Gonia and Ernie Joseph... The roles of Karen and Will are difficult... we see them during some of the darkest most uncomfortable moments of their lives, but the actors keep their characters relatable and sympathetic even in their imperfections.
The beautiful digital wide screen cinematography makes excellent use of the lovely Washington locations and Eric Goetz's contemplative score nicely compliments the additional tracks by The Brooke Lee Catastrophe and The Winter Migration.
The emotional terrain it maps out is honest, heartfelt and powerful. It has a directness and a maturity and a willingness to probe the more uncomfortable aspects of a relationship without necessarily choosing sides in the conflict.
With the first frame of THIS IS OURS, one is swept up in the beauty and elegance of Jonathan Houser's cinematography and drawn into this slice of life character study of a fractured relationship hiding behind the trappings of responsibility and the American Dream.
[Y]ou can't help but gravitate to Mark Carr... Sexy, nice, attentive with a carefree almost hippyish sensibility, Carr just sucks you in ever deeper, giving both Eric and the story unseen multiple layers, peeling them back like an onion.
Wonder Russell... is always a welcome addition to any cast, and THIS IS OURS is no different. As Sandy, she is dichotomous. Confident, lost, naive and coquettish all rolled into one -- a girl trying to find her way and not afraid to admit her dreams or her trepidations.
Both couples are really searching for the same thing: the American dream, being content with what you are and what you have accomplished. The only difference is that they define that through two different lenses... The best scene of the film involves a conversation between Sandy [Wonder Russell] and Karen [Karie Gonia], where they share their hopes and regrets, and reveal deep down that they are much more alike than they are different.
Kris and Lindy Boustedt have created a story that... seriously looks at relationships at varying degrees, and have captured that with an interesting visual skill... The way the filmmakers worked with the themes of 'Letting Go' and 'Breaking Free' showed that this was a project that they truly cared about.