First Love, Last Rites

A touching first feature (1997) by Jesse Peretz about the relationship between a young couple (Natasha Gregson Wagner and Giovanni Ribisi) living together in a small fishing village on the Louisiana bayou. She’s a local and he’s there on holiday, where he joins her estranged father (Robert John Burke) in a faltering business venture to catch eels. The plot is somewhat amorphous and not entirely helped by some symbolism involving a rat, but the overall feel of the location is perfectly caught, the poetic and atmospheric interludes punctuating the story are nicely handled, and the acting is first-rate. Adapted by Peretz and David Ryan from a story by Ian McEwan. Music Box, Saturday and Sunday, March 13 and 14. — Jonathan Rosenbaum

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.

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