Had Harper Lee grown up in crabcake country, she might have produced something like writer-director Doug Sadler's unusually absorbing portrait of a tidewater Maryland fishing family, directed and acted with lyrical sensitivity to its characters' fragile, flickering emotions. It starts as yet another ostentatiously low-key regional indie marked by a strained central metaphor: 11-year-old Emma (newcomer Tara Devon Gallagher) lives to swim, but degenerative ear disease not only drowns her hopes, but threatens to pull her financially struggling family under. As her hard-drinking fisherman father (Robert Knott) and hard-pressed mother (acclaimed Broadway actress Cherry Jones) face grim measures, Emma takes solace in an empty backyard pool with an awkward, haunted drifter (Sarah Paulson). But Sadler dramatizes middle-class calamities without melodrama, and he has a sure feel for the dense communal threads of a small town where every slight, intended or not, injures an innocent party. And he trains the camera on the faces of his three remarkable lead actresses -- especially Jones and Paulson.
Director: Doug Sadler
Writer: Doug Sadler
Producer: Melanie Backer, Daniel Bickel, David W. Leitner and Michael Yanko
Cast: Tara Devon Gallagher, Shawn Hatosy, Cherry Jones, Robert Knott, Michael Mosley, Sarah Paulson, Bodine Alexander, Kate Goehring, Don Harvey and Charles H. Clyburn