Lisa Schwarzbaum
June 29, 2005 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Talent Given Us

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
runtime
97 minutes
Limited Release Date
06/17/05
performer
Allen Wagner, Judy Wagner
director
Andrew Wagner
distributor
Vitagraph Films
author
Andrew Wagner
genre
Drama

We gave it an A-

Andrew Wagner’s casually astonishing film The Talent Given Us explodes the notion that there are no more permutations of reality-bending left to surprise us in storytelling. Using resources extremely close at hand, he casts his own mother, father, and two sisters as themselves, an average-but-unique family of voluble Manhattanites driving cross-country to visit the unit’s reclusive, absent member, Andrew — a filmmaker in L.A. Are they just being themselves, this clan of let-it-all-hang-out yakkers, as they squabble, eat, play, and digress? Are they acting? Wagner — who is, of course, an invisible passenger — lets his family take star billing in a film of uncommon originality.

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