Film Review – At Middleton
Are you planning on taking a college campus tour sometime soon? Whether you are the parent or the high schooler, chances are that your experience will be nothing like what is depicted in At Middleton.
At Middleton focuses on mother/daughter Edith (Vera Farmiga) and Audrey (Taissa Farmiga) and father/son George (Andy Garcia) and Conrad (Spencer Lofranco) as they all travel to Middleton College for a campus tour. Disinterest in the tour itself is led by the parents who play hooky together. Edith leaves to get coffee and snacks followed by a bathroom break which gives George an opportunity to follow Edith. Conrad and Audrey stick the tour out until the end and then discover something about themselves by the end of the day. They end the day in completely different mindsets than when they pulled into the parking lot that morning.
At the beginning of the film, it seems like this is going to be about discovery, growing up, looking back, and relationships. While all of this is in the film, about halfway through, it all becomes uninteresting. Edith, the more free-spirited of the two, and George, the uptight heart surgeon, explore the campus and get to know each other. While their relationship is initially cute, I have a hard time believing that two parents would ditch their kids in a strange environment for the entire day to hang out with each other. I also cannot believe that the kids would not be a little concerned as to what their parents are doing, at least in Conrad’s case since he was dragged to the tour by his father.
The film is monotonous. There are whole scenes that could have been cut out, making for a more concise, shorter film. While Vera Farmiga and Andy Garcia are fine actors, the storyline is just not compelling enough to keep my attention. They see in each other what is missing with what they have now, but are you really going to screw up your life and your family’s life for someone you have only known for a few hours. There are a couple of good moments, one of which is when Taissa Farmiga gets to bring out her bratty side for an encounter Audrey has with her almost mentor, Dr. Emerson played by Tom Skerritt. While a good acting moment, it lessens the likability of Audrey. Spencer Lofranco’s role as Conrad comes off as an afterthought, like Conrad was the on the lowest rung in the script.
At Middleton is not worth a ten dollar movie ticket. Maybe I am not the right demographic for the film. Maybe people in their 40s and 50s looking back on their lives with their grown up kids will be able to identify more with Edith and George. The film comes off as unrealistic and drab with not much to keep your attention. This is a film to be seen on DVD where a stop button can be utilized if you start feeling like At Middleton is not the right college campus tour for you.