Directors: Eshom Nelms & Ian Nelms
Writers: Eshom Nelms & Ian Nelms
Starring: Jane Kaczmarek, C. Thomas Howell, James Lafferty, Aaron Hill, Michelle Lang, Octavia Spencer, Tom Fugedi, Peter Donovan and Michael Lawson
Runtime: 104 minutes
You probably have never heard of Lost on Purpose but that’s the beauty of indie films. Independent films bring to the forefront an artist’s unique voice, taking a risk with a concept that may or may not work. Often these films are either never distributed or have a limited distribution to a small audience. Many indie films end up having to go the long route of festivals before getting a release of some sort. Lost on Purpose is on that journey at the moment and we felt its important we put this film into perspective.
Lost on Purpose is co-directed by – and co-written by – brothers Eshom Nelms and Ian Nelms. It follows Elizabeth James (Jane Kaczmarek) – AKA Ms. Liz – who operates her third generation dairy farm in the fertile San Joaquin Valley. With the farm hitting its third straight deficit year, she gets some unwanted attention from Delbert Furgeson (C. Thomas Howell), owner of the area’s largest co-op, who has an intention to buy her out. In the middle of all this are the farms five boys: Brothers Randel and Rooker Lee (Aaron Hill and James Lafferty), aspiring musicians Leslie Williams and Jackie Remmington (Tom Fugedi and Peter Donovan), and Wade Kitchanski (Michael Lawson), each with their own struggles and problems.
The story of the film is absolutely solid. The concept of purpose is something that resonates with anyone, no matter the background, interest, etc. What’s presented is a universal concept in the form of a simple, beautifully crafted story. Purpose, mind you, is not something that can “simply” be presented. Lost on Purpose weaves together multiple elements, activities and events to really highlight what the meaning of purpose is, with a different meaning for each character. On the note of characters, each is given his/her own voice, never shadowing the other nor stealing away the focus from the story.What this provides is a beautiful piece of film that, as mentioned before, provides multiple definitions of purpose, but weaves it all together to show the power of relationships and respect.
The performances seen in Lost on Purpose are just brilliant. Then again, you would somewhat expect that by simply looking at the cast list. Jane Kaczmarek lives the role of Ms. Liz, portraying her alpha-female character, her pride and her energy with not only elegance but with sophistication. James Lafferty and Aaron Hill play characters in a yin-yang relationship. Brothers by blood, Lafferty’s Rooker is the sensible one in the equation, while Hill’s Randel likes to do things the old school way. Both Lafferty and Hill really define their character’s personalities throughout the film. Tom Fugedi, Peter Donovan and Michael Lawson who play Leslie Williams, Jackie Remmington, and Wade Kitchanski respectively are brilliant in their individual roles. They complement other performances and the story in general. C. Thomas Howell portrays the main antagonist role quite well, adding that balance needed to Kaczmarek’s alpha-female character. The film got a magical touch with a performance by the talented Octavia Spencer; a refreshing moment in the film.
The film maybe a low-budget indie but it has achieved much more than many would expect. The film is polished and the music choice are impeccable . In fact, the music is a defining feature of this film. Each song, each tune, is perfectly selected to match the mood and emotions in a particular scene. In addition, the quality of the picture is great. They have done a fine job editing, really creating a fantastic final piece. It’s a mixture of little things that work together to make up a concrete foundation for the film.
The Nelms brothers have really created a simple film with a sophisticated story. Lost on Purpose combines a brilliant cast, outstanding performances and a magical story to really weave together the concept of “purpose”, in a realistic and subtle way. We certainly hope this film gets distribution as it will certainly be a film that people fall in love with, not just for the story but the characters as well.