Carrie Pilby, unfortunately, is the type of film you could only imagine those in the indie hubs of NY/LA would enjoy while the rest of us feel bored out of our minds.
Characters & Storyline
At 14 years of age Carrie (Bel Powley) was accepted into Harvard and left London, seemingly to never return. At that point, she skipped three years of school and her mother died. Fast forward to her being 19 and while her academic and professional accomplishments are noteworthy, her personal life isn’t. So, with her dad (Gabriel Byrne) still in London, and unreliable in providing her attention and comfort, and her therapist, Dr. Petrov (Nathan Lane) being her father’s friend, he tries to assist her in finding some form of personal happiness and accomplishment with a list. A small to do list that between when the movie begins at the end of November, and when it ends around New Years, the tasks may lead to a more personal fulfillment.
You Do Want to Root For Carrie
With Powley having these big blue eyes and a slight baby face, like in The Diary of a Teenage Girl, you find yourself mystified and enchanted. For even though Carrie is bougie and condescending at times, you want to watch her grow and experience life. Especially as you come to the realization that while she may have book smarts, her social skills are lacking.
So, like a YA novel you never read before, you so badly hope someone interesting will take her under their wing. You think that maybe it will be the Asian guy at this restaurant she goes to, perhaps Tara (Vanessa Bayer) will be a good match, or even her neighbor Cy (William Moseley). You, for most of the movie, wait for that special person to help her catch up on the years she missed and cure her of her arrested development.
It Wants To Be A Comedy, But Screams Out It Can Be So Much More
For reasons I can’t fathom, this movie almost completely disregards any sense of drama in lieu of trying to make Carrie’s journey lighthearted and comical. Something which is poorly executed for unless you have a NY, possibly LA theater goer, sense of humor, which is hard to explain, this film isn’t funny at all. It’s one of those films where certain cues of what a therapist says or the way an awkward moment plays out, if you are familiar with indie movie audiences, you can pinpoint when they would laugh and you sit there wondering what the joke is.
But perhaps the main issue is that it wastes time on characters like Tara and Douglas (Desmin Borges), who are odd, eccentric, and as deep as the pores in paper; weird relationships like the ones she crafts with her professor (Colin O’Donoghue) and Matt (Jason Ritter); and doesn’t focus on the relationships which give this film a sense of heart. The ones which don’t seem like filler but are part of her unlocking her personal potential and growing as a person.
Those two relationships being the one which is wrought with complications, the relationship with her father, and then the relationship with her neighbor Cy. Both end up neglected and then practically rushed at the end of the film. Thus making her reconciliation with her dad seem shallow and then her budding relationship with Cy not cute or even realistic. It seems slapped together because you spent a good 40-50 minutes of her falling for this engaged guy or this married man and then it seems the movie realized “Oh, we don’t want Carrie to grow from being the other woman, let’s change that so, in the end, she can have a boyfriend and we can pretend that is the reason she may finally seem adjusted to life.”
Overall: Negative (Skip It)
Carrie Pilby wastes the talents of the cast who seem like they have dramatic abilities and leads you to question whether the members known for their comic abilities were just a liability for this movie or aren’t ready for primetime. Hence the negative label for it really is a disappointment and it really leads you to believe Powley better be careful for it seems she may have become a possible mainstream name through a coming of age story, but it isn’t a genre she should get too comfortable in.
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