Beneath the Harvest Sky (2014)
Directed by Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly.
Cast: Emory Cohen, Callan McAuliffe, Aidan Gillen, Sarah Sutherland, Zoe Levin, David Denman, Carla Gallo, Timm Sharp, W. Earl Brown, Joe Cobden, Michael McGrady, Josh Mostel, Carrie Preston, Tim Simons, Delaney Williams, Wendy Way.
2014 116 minutes
Not Rated (equivalent of an R rating for language, drug content and sexual content).
Reviewed by Dustin Putman, October 19, 2014.
"Beneath the Harvest Sky" is what happens when an otherwise astutely made coming-of-age drama is thrashed to pieces by a woefully out-of-control screenplay. Made in partnership with the TERRA Chips company (the original title was even "Blue Potato"), this indie slice-of-lifethe fictional debut of documentary filmmakers Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapillystars Callan McAuliffe (2013's "The Great Gatsby
") and the magnetic Emory Cohen (2013's "The Place Beyond the Pines
") as best friends Dominic and Casper, high school seniors with plans to escape their nowhere hometown of Van Buren, Maine, for the big city of Boston after graduation. When the rebellious Casper discovers girlfriend Tasha (Zoe Levin) is pregnant and gets pulled into drug-running for his no-good dad (Aidan Gillen), the more responsible Dominic sees their futures suddenly heading in very different directions. The performances in "Beneath the Harvest Sky" are better than the movie itself, an exceedingly derivative teen melodrama that too often loses focus and meanders off on lugubrious tangents with its criminal subplots. Its most fatal misstep, however, is a ridiculously overwrought climax featuring the arrival of a devastating storm, a freak accident, police arrests and a suicide all within the same five-minute period. This ending is simultaneously implausible, strained and insulting, a ruinous exclamation point on a film that has enough strong qualities to deserve a page-one rewrite.