Due East (2002)
In Due Course
Mary Faith Rapple (Clara Bryant) has always been quiet, a good girl who studies hard, helps others and looks after her widowed father Jesse (Robert Forster - Murder in Greenwich). But when she meets Michael Yaeger (Jesse Moss) that all changes when two tragedies not only shake up her world but also the world of those who know her.
To put it simply "Due East" strangely reminded me of a Nicholas Sparks movie but one made on a TV movie budget. Maybe it is the small fishing town location, maybe it is the slight soft focus camera work or maybe it is the teen tragedy storyline but there is something a little Sparks like going on. Any way as to what is going on in "Due East" well I had better say spoiler alert here.
What we have is a movie built around the ripple effect starting with what happens to good girl Mary Faith when she meets bike riding loner Michael, she ends up pregnant and he ends up dead after a bike crash. Now on Mary Faith's storyline we see how she tries to deal with the situation and how others deal with it to, how their attitudes change towards her especially those who are disappointed in the town's good girl. But as I said this is a movie about a ripple effect and so after Mary Faith tells her dad she is pregnant he ends up becoming close to widow Nell Dugan after he thinks that maybe her son knocked his daughter up. We also see how Mary Faith finds friendship in the most unlikeliest of places who gives her support that friends of the family don't.
Now in fairness there is very little depth to this and a lot of cliche as we are served up such things as some small town folk having a narrow mind over Mary Faith's pregnancy and expecting her to have an abortion. We also get intentionally quirky mixed tone which ranges from drama to light comedy such as Mary Faith's father gallivanting around with the widow Dugan. It makes "Due East" on one hand predictable but on the other curious as it flip flops between drama and humour at a moment's notice.
Aside from that well there are some enjoyable performances going on; Clara Bryant is solid as the strong minded Mary Faith whilst Robert Forster is comical as her flustered widowed father trying to deal with something outside of his comfort zone. But Forster brings comedy to his role as does Cybil Shepherd who plays the hit widow Dugan. And then there is Kate Capshaw who in what feels like a subplot about a struggling neighbour after the break up of her marriage gets a surprising amount of screen time.
What this all boils down to is that in the end "Due East" is nothing special telling a familiar story with familiar characters in a quirky mix of comedy and drama but it is strangely engaging.
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