Getting divorced when you’re middle-aged sucks. I mean, getting divorced at any age, blows. But when you’re middle-aged with kids, mortgages and savings, it can be a next level kind of harrowing suck. How does one start their life over? And when you’re a woman, the challenge is even on a higher level. This is what actress, writer and producer Finnerty Steeves (Orange is the New Black, The Smurfs, Delivery Man) explores in the lovely new film from Indie City Films and Cutters Studios, Before / During / After.
The 83-minute comedy/drama is the story of Jennie Lonergan, a middle-aged NYC theatre actress, who is forced to figure out the kind of person she wants to be when her seemingly perfect 15-year marriage comes to an abrupt end after she catches her husband having an affair.
The film is anchored in one day in Jennie’s life when she is auditioning for a career-making role in a play that triggers a flood of her own unprocessed memories about her marriage and the aftermath of her divorce.
The play’s director, Nigel Hopkins (played by the pitch perfect Michael Emerson(Lost, Person of Interest) directs Jennie as she flounders to delve into the character of a brokenhearted woman: “She has to move forward. Neutral is no good, being a victim is not good — she must find the next right thing or the fear and the hurt will swallow her.”
Jennie’s memories are peppered with characters and experiences that only happen to a person who has lost her way, and through these experiences and people Jennie is guided back to herself and to the kind of person, the kind of life, she’s always wanted.
And so the film goes backwards and forwards in time, as memories tend to do, until we realize that the audition itself was also memory and the true present moment is one where she stands solid on her own two feet, with strength and vulnerability to move forward in the direction of her best life.
I had the chance to sit with Finnerty and Cutters Studios‘ Producers Craig Duncan and Elizabeth Krajewski to discuss the film and Cutters direction of growing into a full-fledged studio and content company. Watch below:
Before/During/After will be the closing night film at Dances with Films on September 6. This year, due to COVID, the festival, now in its 23rd year will be virtual.