The Moya View

As They Made Us: A Different Kind of Big Bang

Courtesy Screen Media

Plot via IMDB:

A divorced mom tries to make peace with her dysfunctional family as she finds a second chance at love


Actors trust actors. So Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory and Jeopardy part time host, concentrated on putting together the best ensemble she could find for her directing debut, As They Made Us, a passionate project which she also wrote and produced. The older generation is represented by Candice Bergen and Dustin Hoffman as the parents. Bialik’s Big Bang Theory costar Simon Helberg and Dianna Agron from Glee play their children. Bialik lets them do their thing, giving them room to find the character nuances and define the complicated interpersonal and family dynamics, so she can concentrate on getting the basics details authentic enough.

Courtesy Screen Media

The results are both impressive and uneven. The ensemble takes a little while to get in the groove. The plot both wants to be both a story about a recently divorced mother of two rambunctious boys who struggles to find love again and a weepy about a dysfunctional family that comes together and to grips with the impending death of the patriarch. The flashback structure only adds to the confusion. Ultimately it settles into a well observed tale of grief and reconciliation once it dispenses with the backstory.

Courtesy Screen Media

Everyone is basically awful, and it’s up to younger daughter, Abigail (Dianna Agron) to sort through the nonsense and noise. But this is no wacky, screwed-up-family comedy. As They Made Us is most effective in its gentle, intimate, everyday moments. Bialik mercifully refrains from melodrama as the film reaches its tearful conclusion. It feels authentic and recognizable to anyone who has lost a parent.

Courtesy Screen Media

Agron does lovely work with this meaty role, finding a light touch within the comic moments as well as a naturalism within the dramatic ones. She also enjoys a sweet, light chemistry with Justin Chu Cary as Jay, the landscaper with whom she begins a tentative romance.

Courtesy Screen Media

Simon Helberg has more of a sporadic, supporting presence, but he’s particularly strong in a scene where He and Hoffman awkwardly reunite after decades apart, once the father is a shell of his former self. Again, Bialik knows enough to let the inherent drama of this moment speak for itself. And of course, Hoffman and Bergen are total pros, finding subtle detail in their characters’ physicality to convey a great deal about their interior lives.

Courtesy Screen Media

As They Made Us is clearly a personal debut effort for Bialik, but she shows enough confidence behind the camera to make you curious about whatever other stories she has to tell.

Courtesy Screen Media

As They Made Us gets a 3.5 out of 5 or a B+.


Credits:

Directed by

Mayim Bialik

Written by

Mayim Bialik

Produced by

Starring

Cinematography

David Feeney-Mosier

Edited by

  • Nick Wright
  • Monica Salazar

Music byKevin Besignano

Production
companies

Distributed by

Quiver Distribution

Release date

  • April 8, 2022
  • Running time
  • 100 minutes
  • Country
  • United States
  • Language
  • English

Courtesy Screen Media

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