January 22, 2004
The Hollywood Reporter
Bottom line: Told with a tender vigor, the film explores relationships on a number of levels.
MOVIE REVIEW: EVERGREEN
By Duane Byrge
PARK CITY – Evergreen is a wispy, full-bodied story of a 14-year-old girl's coming to grips with who she is and, more importantly, who her family is. Told with a tender vigor, the film explores relationships on a number of levels. It will ring true with mature teenagers of all classes.
In this superior competition entrant, bedraggled teen Henri, aka Henrietta, is lugged to her grandmother's shabby abode in the Pacific Northwest by her down-and-out mother. Staying with Granny, a crusty Latvian woman, is daunting for both mother and daughter. The old woman (Lynn Cohen) is dirt poor and vociferous in her old-world viewpoints, while her mother's (Cara Seymour) sour attitude about life clues us to her chronic failures. In addition, Henri must confront another new school.
On one level, Evergreen percolates as a multi-generational story as the three females bicker and war with one another, the products of their own generation and personal hardships. It is also a bristling tale of personal readjustment, compounded by peer pressure. As written and directed by Enid Zentelis, Evergreen is a buoyant film, packed with everyday wisdom and propelled by the sympathetic lead performance of Addie Land.
The supporting performances are remarkable, including a vulnerable turn by Mary Kay Place as an agoraphobic suburbanite and an endearing portrayal by Gary Farmer as a Native-American casino worker. In addition, Bruce Davison is convincing as a lonely lord-of-the-suburban manor.