There is an old proverb that says, “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” Robbie (David Dahlbom) might embellish that to read, “In the house of the pregnant teens, the 30-something king also wears a heavy crown.”
A heavy crown indeed is the lot in life for our hero in director Nathan Silver’s latest film-festival favorite, Uncertain Terms. It will be heading to the DVD market place courtesy of Breaking Glass Pictures on July 7.
His marriage to Mona (Caitlin Mehner), is falling apart, so Robbie retreats to his aunt Clara’s (effectively played by Cindy Silver … the director’s mother) for a fortnight to figure things out. This decision might not be the right choice for him at this point in his life as his aunt runs Gottlieb’s Home for Girls, a safe-house for pregnant teens, who all face uncertain futures.
They are scared, overwhelmed and vulnerable … the safety that Clara offers them (five residents at a time) might just be the last quiet moments in their lives for sometime to come. Precious moments to reflect; to prepare … and Robbie might be a distraction that will be difficult for them to overcome.
Robbie acts as sort of a handyman around the place and we get backstory glimpses of his tumultuous and alcohol-fueled life with Mona … this too is a time for him to reflect and prepare for what comes next in his life.
Soon, however, as we might expect, he becomes an object of affection for one of the teens. He’s the mature man … the dreamy lifeboat. To his credit, he handles the unwanted attention with a maturity and understanding that comes as even a surprise to him.
It is one of the other young women, Nina (India Menuez), with whom he begins to bond. Tender, quiet moments of reflection. But lurking and always ready to smash this tranquility is the would-be father of her child, Chase (Casey Drogin), a frightful bully with a hair-trigger temper. A future with him, for Nina, would be one of emotional pain and violence.
This is what our “30-something king” is faced with. Robbie’s conflict as a husband in a failing marriage, a protector figure and, more importantly, as simply a human being every bit as vulnerable as Clara’s pregnant teens, draws us in. Uncertain Terms, with wins at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and the Memphis Indie Film Festival last year, and the Sarasota Film Festival this year (among others), is well worth a look-see when it arrives on DVD from Breaking Glass Pictures on July 7.
Bonus features include commentary from writer/director Nathan Silver (who is joined by several cast members).