LBS (2010), and also the very interesting Amexicano (from 2009, but actually shot after Lbs), Matthew Bonifacio is back again with a new film opening this week in which this good young filmmaker has managed to remedy some of the problems inherent in his earlier work: a few too many cliches, creaky plot mechanics, choppiness and the occasional tendency toward melodrama. THE QUITTER tells the tale of a fellow named Jonathan (played by Bonifacio), who his father has labeled a quitter, and how he suddenly finds himself faced with the opportunity to make good on a couple of past mistakes. One of these has to do with baseball, but the other, a much more significant one, involves a past relationship and the product of that affair.
When an old love surfaces in the neighborhood after nearly a decade, and Jonathan is faced not just with the woman but her (and his) eight-year-old daughter (whom he last saw as an image in a sonogram), opportunities for heavy-duty change suddenly confront the man.
Julianna Gelinas Bonifacio (above and further above, who I'm guessing is the director's wife) proves a smart choice. The actress -- playing the role of a woman who has been hugely wronged and now finds it difficult to open herself to what may be another disappointment -- is angry, hurt, closed off and very slow to warm up. All of which works well.
Natasha Lyonne (above) does a nice cameo appearance here, as a smart, helpful ballet instructor.
Deirdre O'Connell (below) and Dan Grimaldi (above) get their opportunity to shine: he darkly and she with her usual warmth and wisdom.
Erin Darke (below) and Henry Vick are a lot of fun and a little bit troublesome, too. They add nicely to the fizzy mix that keeps spritzing our leading players.
Destiny Monet Cruz, below, proves adorable (a prerequisite for child actors these days), but she never overuses this feature and so appears a pretty good little actress at this point in time.