First Hit: Very enjoyable along with being witty, funny and introspective.
Have you ever wanted to just checkout, or get out of the rat race? This story is about how we fall into traps of our day to day life and how one man decided to checkout.
A key moment in the film is when Howard (Bryan Cranston) recalls his wife Diana (Jennifer Garner) telling him “I’m just hoping to make it through the day”. We know the couple is struggling because they each are getting through the marriage with difficulty.
He works in the city and is a highly-paid litigator, she works at a museum as assistant curator. At home he watches her closely and at parties and other gatherings he accuses her of flirting with other men, whereby he gets jealous and for him, and maybe her, this is when he gets aroused enough to have sex.
On his way home one evening, feeling the pressure and unhappiness of his life, the train breaks down because of a power shortage. His wife keeps calling him and he doesn’t answer the phone, he's feeling pressure. He is on the edge of a breakdown. Finally arriving at home, instead of going in the house, he chases down a raccoon and finds himself in a room above the garage. Looking out of the ornamental window, he decides he cannot face his wife and decides to sleep in a chair in the room. Next day, after his wife leaves, he washes up but then gets this crazy idea to sneak out and go back to the attic. But before he does he puts everything back just as if he wasn’t there.
Being able to spy on his wife and kids from the windows in this room, he decides to stay a couple days, then they turn into weeks, which in-turn turn into months. He becomes a homeless person but with a sheltered place to sleep.
He goes out at night and the early morning to collect food from trash cans and wash off in a local lake. As he becomes more engaged with his new life, above the garage, the conversations he has with himself are amazingly poignant about life, each of us and his character. Truly this was a great aspect of this film. The evolutionary aspect of this character as he sees life through the pane of his upstairs hideaway.
I loved the way this was filmed. It made Howard an everyman and how easily things can change and what one can do to find their path to where they want to be.
Cranston was magnificent. He fully engaged with and in this role. His sarcasm, insights and love towards his wife were fully explored. Garner was fantastic. Although having little speaking scenes, watching her be Howard's wife, as seen through his eyes through the small windows, was fascinating. Robin Swicord did an amazing job creating an engaging and fascinating script and expertly directed the actors based on this screenplay.
Overall: One of the better films to show up on the big screen this year.