Shuttling between her friends, neighbours, terminally ill cousin and drug addicted son, Diane (Mary Kay Place) leads a disparate life. Her days filled with the aged lives of others, a void slowly starts to open up that reveals the woman inside as impending mortality takes hold.
… a sensitive portrait of small lives lived in the cold, wet climate of old age.
Director Kent Jones’s sensitive portrait of small lives lived in the cold, wet climate of old age is as much about closure as it is inclusivity. Lying at its very heart is the couched central performance of Mary Kay Place. Drably dressed, yet warm of heart, she deftly plays a character who herself is playing a part. Neither overt or dramatic throughout, Diane’s abiding shame is one that is slowly revealed in the passing of her friends. In carrying this unseen cross, Place’s performance is the one that underlines both the character and the movie. Ably supported by Jake Lacy as her son Brian, their scenes together are notably more spiky and jarring. Stripping away the unsaid truths that each character holds against the other, their exchanges map the way to Diane’s own languid realisation.
Ultimately ending up a victim to its own commitment to lightly-shaded drama, ‘Diane’ falters in its finale. Subtle to the point of detriment, its earnest outlook sadly prevents the film from commenting on the same life that it carries. So, depending on your reading of its nuanced final half hour, the filmmakers have either stayed true to their dour vision of old age or preciously refused to commit to a conclusion. Either way, with both time and patience to spare, viewing ‘Diane’ delivers an accomplished portrait, brimming with heartfelt and lifelike performances, should you need an antidote to ‘action instead of acting’.