Living the suburban life he never dreamed of, Cam Edwin (Jim Gaffigan) presents a failing children’s TV science show that airs in the severely undesirable time slot of midnight each night. His marriage with wife Erin (Rhea Seehorn) is failing just as badly, with divorce papers arriving weekly in the post, but they try and keep their issues away from the gaze of their daughter, Nora (Katelyn Nacon) and other children. When a satellite falls from the sky and crash-lands in the backyard, Cam interprets this as a sign to fulfil his dream of becoming an astronaut and building a rocket ship. For Erin and Nora, things are also about to change as their lives all become more interconnected than they once were.
This movie is what film festivals are for, why people come and queue in the pouring rain for countless hours: to see something different. Colin West’s Linoleum tells us to be who we want to be and never look back, going on to show viewers why making the most of every moment counts in the end. This is an exploration of time and people with a galaxy-sized heart, backed up with wonderful performances from all of the cast.
When a bright red sports car comes crashing out of the sky, the audience becomes immediately aware that this not the usual mid-life crisis movie. Its abstract nature means the actors have a looser leash to develop their characters, much to the benefit of the film and the audience. The whole has an innocent feel – similar to Dave McCary’s 2017 Brigsby Bear – whilst keeping a few dark undertones running almost unnoticed until they decide to surface.
That is not to say the characters do not remain grounded; there are a few interesting dynamics between them, along with a considerable amount of humour. Cam and Erin seek vindication from their own industry – something we can all relate to – and Nora, who is by far the most exciting and well-developed character, portrayed superbly by the glowing Nacon, undergoes the greatest exploration. There is a great scene alongside Gabriel Rush about orientation in all forms that must be given an A+.
Mark Hadley’s space-reminiscent score particularly stands out when the camera adventures around every corner with orbital launch cinematography, and everything seems to be heading in the right direction throughout. However, the sole foible with Linoleum is that, although presented with clarity, the final ten minutes frays all of the logical sense that weaves all three acts together, instead catering for artistic vision. The narrative lurches quite drastically away from the anticipated destination, revealing for the first time a few unforeseen twists that tie up a number of loose ends (albeit it a little messily). But this sequence nonetheless packs an emotional punch and a whole lot of heart – much like the film as a whole.
Linoleum does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2022 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.