Film Review – Virginia Minnesota (2017) ***

Title – Virginia Minnesota (2017)

Director – Daniel Stine (feature debut)

Cast – Aurora Perrineau, Rachel Hendrix, Jessica Miesel, Julia Keefe, Daniel Stine

Plot – Reunited childhood friends Addison (Perrineau) and Lyle (Hendrix) embark on a 24-hour journey through their home town of Virginia Minnesota and relive moments from their past that have in-turn shaped their future.

“You cannot destroy one who has dreamed a dream like mine”

Review by Eddie on 06/07/2018

The feature film debut of actor/filmmaker Daniel Stine, Virginia Minnesota is an arthouse dramedy not dissimilar in tone to genre heavy-hitters such as Garden State and Little Miss Sunshine and while its low-key and humanly centric leaves a little to be desired, Stine has crafted a film that’s easy to enjoy and suggests the budding filmmaker is one to keep a close eye on moving forward.

Focusing its attention on Aurora Perrineau’s and Rachel Hendrix’s long-term friends Addison and Lyle, mid-20 year old girls who have found themselves haunted by past events the house for neglected children they lived in as children, Virginia Minnesota is a quietly contemplative study on grief, loss and friendship as these two meandering souls find themselves in each other’s lives once more and looking to move past the roadblocks that have halted their lives up until this point in time.

Perrineau and Hendrix both deliver strong turns with Perrineau in particular impressing as the complicated and feisty Addison who isn’t afraid to say it how it is and burn bridges along the way doing so.

The daughter of well-known actor Harold (who appears here in voice format as the helpful/unhelpful talking piece of luggage Mister), Perrineau plays Addison just the right side of likeable as her and Lyle head on a road trip of sorts through the scenic countryside of this Minnesota set tale.

With this picturesque backdrop at his disposal Stine finds another character within his film that helps compliment the films at times stuttering narrative that through a few mistimed circumstances isn’t as funny or emotionally powerful as it could’ve been.

It’s a slight shame that Virginia Minnesota didn’t completely nail its tonal shifts between comedy and drama and as is the case with films of this ilk it’s always a hard balance to weigh up comedic moments, serious musings or whimsy to the right amount and at the end of the day it will offer Stine an important learning experience moving forward to combine all his elements into a more confident whole.

Final Say –

A small and likeable character driven experience, Virginia Minnesota may not transcend to grand heights but this impressive feature debut from Stine, that features a breakthrough performance from Perreneau, is an indie film well worth seeking out.

3 donut loving old people out of 5

Virginia Minnesota has its Australian premiere on July 7th at the Revelation Perth International Film Festival

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