Independent dramedies can be a thing of absolute beauty. Powerful acting contained within the world of a crafty director’s lens, joined in by a script dripping with realism and quirkiness are the film’s most essential ingredients. When these important factors mix, cinematic magic is bound to happen. The Quitter is one such indie that blends all of these ingredients and the results are utterly sublime. It is a romantic dramedy with heart, humor and at times, baseball.
Producer-director Matthew Bonifacio stars as Jonathan, your typical 30-something Brooklynite who runs a batting cage in Coney Island. When his ex-girlfriend Georgie (played by Bonifacio’s real-life wife Julianna Gelinas Bonifacio) comes back into his life, this time with 7-year-old daughter Luka (Destiny Monet Cruz) in tow, things get a bit complicated especially with the girl being Jonathan’s daughter and all. The bulk of the film focuses on Jonathan as he tries his very best to be a part of Georgie and Luka’s lives.
The Quitter presents a premise that has been done many times before. It will probably feel very familiar to casual movie audiences but it has at its heart, a warmth and genuineness that few films this day and age possess. Matthew Bonifacio is great in a very understated performance. He basically just exists and those around him don’t seem to mind his quiet, somewhat apathetic nature. Julianna Gelinas Bonifacio’s onscreen persona is also quite subdued and at times, very annoying. She doesn’t come across as a very loving character, except only to Luka, played by the very young but very talented Destiny Monet Cruz.
Matthew Bonifacio is a triple threat in The Quitter. He handles each of his duties (directing, producing and acting) with just the right amount of attention. The realistic nature of this film is what makes it a true independent dramedy. The sound, at times, seems like it was recorded on an iPhone and it probably was. That doesn’t detract from the film’s exquisite quality. Even if this film was shot on a shoestring budget, which I believe it was, it is a film with exudes extreme confidence. Bonifacio has a firm grasp of the production and his talent has certainly been see before with films like Amexicano and Lbs.
There are many qualities that make The Quitter a strong film. Everything mentioned above plus the message of regret and redemption. There is even a subplot with Jonathan’s parents brilliantly played by Deirdre O’Connell and Dan Grimaldi. You can actually believe these two being Jonathan’s parents. They are that good and that believable. They definitely should have had more screen time. The Quitter is a film that will almost certainly fall through the cracks and that is a real shame. It’s a simple story with terrific performances all around, a realistic script and scenarios that normal film audiences can relate to. If you want to watch a film that doesn’t pretend to be something its not and will entertain you while at the same delivering a heartfelt message, then I’d say give The Quitter a try.
The Quitter will be released theatrically on September 12, 2014