FilmRise, with sales and distribution expertise provided by MVD Entertainment Group, has tabbed Feb. 14 as the DVD debut date for writer/director Maris Curran’s Five Nights in Maine.
The film played the festival circuit (beginning with the Toronto International Film Festival in September of 2015) for a solid nine months (to good buzz) before getting a limited arthouse theatrical break in early August of 2016. The ARR is 193 days and ticket sales were $15,138.
Grief, unrelenting sadness … a life lost and the aftermath of that loss is what Sherwin (David Oyelowo — Queen of Katwe, Selma, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, etc.) tries to cope with. With the loss of his wife, Fiona (Hani Furstenberg), as the result of a tragic auto accident, his world has come unglued.
Indeed, during the early narrative we find Sherwin, an Atlanta native, unable to deal with the loss. Even the funeral arrangements seem to overwhelm him; his ability to get through any given day is a test. So when Lucinda, his estranged mother-in-law (played by Dianne Wiest), invites him to spend some time with her in rural Maine he jumps at it. Perhaps an escape, perhaps closure … just some time to change things; to heal.
The issues between Sherwin and Lucinda are only hinted at. Perhaps it was the mixed racial marriage and all of the social pressures inherent with that. Or, perhaps it was the distance between her home in Maine and the home that her daughter had made with Sherwin in Georgia. There is nevertheless a tension.
This is compounded by Lucinda’s health. She is dying of cancer; terminal. Perhaps she too is looking for closure … closure with her daughter as embodied in Sherwin.
Although they share their love for Fiona — in different ways — that connection seems to elude them during the early going. Throughout Five Nights in Maine there is this “itch” that can’t quite be scratched as both Sherwin and Lucinda try to resolve their mutual loss. Look at it as something of a dance of compassion, with steps to this waltz learned only through patience.