Stage manager Rachel Gurner still lives in her childhood apartment—along with her off-kilter actress sister, Jackie; eccentric playwright father Mel; and deadpan preteen niece Dodge—above the tiny theatre they own and operate. Level-headed and turtleneck-wearing Rachel is the only thing standing between her family and utter chaos. Then, in the wake of a sudden family tragedy, Rachel and Jackie learn their presumed-deceased mother is actually alive and thriving as a soap-opera star. Now the sisters’ already-precarious balance turns upside down, and Rachel must figure out how to liberate herself from this surreal imbroglio.
Co-writer/director/star Hannah Pearl Utt is a triple threat with an impeccable sense of timing and a flair for juxtaposing unpredictable elements. Just as pragmatic Rachel and off-the-wall Jackie seem to hail from different planets while inhabiting the same universe, so too do the film’s over-the-top moments and characters coexist alongside subtle, grounded ones. Equal parts madcap comedy, adult coming-of-age story, and poignant drama, Before You Know It gleefully defies categorization, and that is its genius.
CATEGORY U.S. Dramatic Competition
RUN TIME 98 min