Capsule reviews for May 12

The Drowning

Mystery takes a backseat to manipulation in this mildly compelling thriller about Tom (Josh Charles), a psychiatrist who impulsively saves a young man (Avan Jogia) during a suicide attempt, only to discover he’s not a stranger, but rather a recent prison parolee who Tom testified against during a child murder conviction. So it’s unsettling when he starts showing up randomly at Tom’s suburban home and cozying up to his wife (Julia Stiles). The performances help to create some tension if you can buy the outlandish premise, although the character motives remain cloudy and the contrived third-act twists keep the payoff at a frustrating emotional distance. (Not rated, 95 minutes).


Paris Can Wait

This guided tour through the French countryside comes courtesy of director Eleanor Coppola (wife of Francis) and actress Diane Lane, who stars as Anne, the wife of a workaholic filmmaker (Alec Baldwin) whose seven-hour car trip to Paris to catch a flight turns into an adventure with her driver (Arnaud Viard) that covers two days’ worth of fine restaurants, sightseeing and stories. Even if the cross-cultural insight is hardly groundbreaking, Lane’s endearing performance conveys an open-minded curiosity that resonates with moviegoers. The charming result feels stretched at feature length, but it’s a mouth-watering showcase for exotic cuisine that takes full advantage of its scenic surroundings. (Rated PG, 92 minutes).



Runners tend to be their own unique breed, and that comes across in this quirky low-budget comedy that follows Plumb (Alexi Pappas), a distance runner intensely training for the high-pressure Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon — the city belonging to the titular nickname. However, her routine is thrown off-track by an injury, prompting a day of rest during which she meets a barista (Chase Offerle) who changes her outlook. Pappas, who’s also a co-director, is convincing enough as she conveys the focused dedication of an elite athlete. However, the breezy film can’t quite go the distance with its string of earnest platitudes and distracting contrivances. (Not rated, 87 minutes).


Urban Hymn

While exploring themes of redemption and socioeconomic class, this coming-of-age drama from director Michael Caton-Jones (Rob Roy) ultimately sings a familiar tune. It follows a London social worker (Shirley Henderson) who takes a juvenile delinquent (Letitia Wright) under her wing by asking her to join the choir. But the teenager can’t escape her past, especially her loyalty to a best friend (Isabella Laughland) with a penchant for violent outbursts and criminal activity. The result is heartfelt but heavy-handed, with the strong performances compromised by a crowd-pleasing approach that feels more sanitized than authentically gritty. Outside of a surprising late plot twist, it’s formulaic and off-key. (Not rated, 114 minutes).


The Wedding Plan

There’s a fresh approach to familiar material that drives this modest Israeli romantic comedy, even if the overall impact is forgettable. It centers on Michal (Noa Koler), an Orthodox Jewish woman is dumped by her fiancée just weeks before their nuptials. But rather than canceling the wedding, she becomes determined to find a new groom before the big day, in an ultimate test of faith. As the clock ticks, however, her ensuing encounters with eccentric men only lead to desperation. The script by director Rama Burshtein (Fill the Void) introduces an intriguing spiritual perspective to Michal’s quest, yet the genuine laughs are more sporadic than consistent. (Rated PG, 110 minutes).