Review: Strange Weather

Holly Hunter in Strange Weather

I wanted to see Strange Weather because I’m a Holly Hunter fan. I wasn’t disappointed by Holly Hunter’s performance, but it was the women around her who brought her back from the brink of her grief and into a semblance of acceptance.

Hunter plays Darcy Baylor. She works at a college in a small town where it hasn’t rained in months. It’s July and hot. She does her gardening at night to save water and avoid the heat.

Her son Walker killed himself 7 years ago at the age of 23. Darcy can’t let it go, can’t move on.

Her long-time friend Byrd (Carrie Coon) and Byrd’s girlfriend Geri (Andrene Ward-Hammond) are the couple next door. Both work at the college where Darcy works. Darcy’s sometimes boyfriend Clay (Kim Coates) hangs around her and tries to talk sense to her as much as he is allowed by Darcy.

Holly Hunter in Strange Weather

After setting this scene for Strange Weather, Darcy learns something that changes everything for her. She finds out that a college friend of Walker’s named Mark Wright (Shane Jacobsen) stole Walker’s business plan. He took Walker’s idea for a chain of family restaurants called Dawg House and made a successful business out of it.

When Darcy looks at the Dawg House web site, she sees Walker’s words there in the story on the About page. Walker and Darcy had a special bond over hot dogs and lemonade and now Mark Wright is making a living off it in the New Orleans area.

Learning this enrages Darcy.

Darcy takes Walker’s pistol with one bullet still in it and heads for New Orleans. Byrd goes with her, at least most of the way. As part of the trip, Darcy stops to talk with 2 other men who were in college with Walker and were there on the day he shot himself. She doesn’t much like what she learns. When she finally reaches New Orleans, she is surprised by what she learns there, too.

Straight talk from Byrd and her other friends as well as finally learning about Walker’s last day from his friends breaks through the chain of grief that held Darcy captive for so long.

Holly Hunter is excellent as the driven half-crazy by grief mother in Strange Weather. I was quite taken by Carrie Coon as her long suffering friend. A friend who loves her even when grief drives her to do strange things in the July heat. A friend who loves her even when telling the truth gets her kicked out of Darcy’s truck and on a bus headed back home.

Back when I published a post with the trailer for the film, I included some quotes from Strange Weather writer and director Katherine Dieckmann. They are worth a read if you are interested in this film.

I am fascinated by stories about grief and how it affects people. I’m also interested in stories about female friendships. If these themes resonate with you, you will enjoy this film. It is available now on Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Video and other streaming sources.

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