Sundance 2021: “Mass”

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Every parent misses red flags in their children; maybe they have to. How can they demonize or vilify their child when they’re supposed to only see goodness in them? Love them and adore them; it’s alright if he/she is quiet, doesn’t have friends, and that all he/she cares about is violent games which they see as a gateway out of the real world. And when tragedy occurs, how can they console themselves?

“Mass” follows two sets of parents that come to church years after a tragedy occurred in their lives. Richard (Reed Birney) and Linda (Ann Dowd) face Gail (Martha Plimpton) and Jay (Jason Isaacs) as they discuss the events that lead to the tragic event. Discussing their children, good and the bad sides, will this travel down the memory lane help them heal and move forward? What is important is the level of pain each of them has; a hundred times stronger than you can imagine, and it will be felt throughout, no matter on whose side you are.

The film starts with the preparation for the meeting at the church. Whether the tissues would be on the left, table, chairs and even a bottle of water, we don’t yet know what we are getting into. And the entire film will be set in that little room which will decide the course of life of its heartbroken characters. These are, well, nuances with great details by writer/director Fran Kranz, and dedicated to everyone who lost their lives and those left behind.

“Mass” is a type of film that one can easily move to the stage. It’s so well constructed and narrated; it makes you feel a part of it. The emotionally charged scenes and dialogues, as Richard and Linda try to understand what signs they missed in their son that led him to take someone else’s child’s life, are truly commendable. “Mass” does not blame anyone; it just recreates a great American tragedy with the help of characters that try to find common ground, while there is no end to their grief.

We don’t know what parents go through when they realize they have raised a murderer. “Mass” explains it in a brilliant and thought-provoking way, that, I am quite sure, will raise awareness and, perhaps, help one way or another the families in real life to notice signs and prevent another senseless killing. As for you, my dear reader, be prepared for a movie of your lifetime – it is a journey to take. Not a pleasant one but a very important one if you are a parent yourself.

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