FAMILY SQUARES – Review by Liz Whittemore

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Having attended my grandmother’s funeral via Zoom a few months into COVID, Family Squares resonated with me on a very personal level. Everything from the weeping to inside jokes about which family members didn’t know how to locate the mute button made me smile. Writer-director Stephanie Laing understands the complexities that exist within a family unit. This massive all-star cast includes Henry Winkler, June Squibb, Ann Dowd, Judy Greer, Margo Martindale, Elsie Fisher, Casey Wilson, Bill Magnussen, Scott MacArthur, Sam Richardson, Zoe Chao, Timothy Simons, Jessica Miesel, and Maclaren Laing. Four generations of actors come together for one joyous and funny film.

Clever transitional editing and a great soundtrack lead the audience into a delightfully fun but equally poignant watch. If there is a gathering of family secrets are bound to spill. In Family Squares, June Squibb’s Mabel nudges familial reconciliation through clues in her video will. As hypotheses swirl, we get a closer look at more intimate conversations between one of two characters at once. The humor infused in the most common subjects, favorite child, debt, marriage, parenting, and even death, is what makes Family Squares so marvelous. It’s a funny commentary on the struggles you cannot see and the brave faces we put on for the world.

The editing is quite a feat. The audience gets an insightful behind-the-scenes treat to the intricacy during the credits. Watching the cast, alongside Stephanie Laing and fellow screenwriter Brad Morris, rehearse and coordinate cameras (which each actor had two) was thoroughly entertaining. I think, by the time the screen went black, my mouth was wide open with astonishment and utter glee. Family Squares will hit every viewer in the heart in the best way possible.

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Liz Whittemore

Liz Whittemore is the author of AWFJ's I SCREAM YOU SCREAM blog. She is Co-Managing Editor and writes for www.ReelNewsDaily.com, hosts the podcast Girls On Film and is a contributing writer for Cinemit.com and The ArtsWireWeekly. Now New York-based, she was born and raised in northern Connecticut. She's a graduate of The American Musical & Dramatic Academy, and has performed at Disneyland and famed Hartford Children's Theater, and been a member of NYC's Boomerang Theater, Connecticut's Simsbury Summer Theater, Virginia's Offstage Theatre, where she also directed. Her film credits include Suburban Skies and Surrender. In 2008, she shot Jabberwocky, a documentary now in post-production. Liz is still a children's theatre director and choreographer. She's working on an updated adaptation of Romeo and Juliet and a series of children's books.