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Review: Pain of loss goes unresolved in ‘Maine’

David Oyelowo and Dianne Wiest star in this small drama about loss and family wounds

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

‘Five Nights in Maine’ is an honest, but impenetrable examination of grief that plays its cards too close to its chest.

David Oyelowo plays Sherwin, who is shocked by the sudden loss of his wife Fiona (Hani Furstenberg) when she is killed in a car accident. Dianne Wiest is Fiona’s cancer-stricken mother, Lucinda, with whom Fiona had a rocky relationship right up until her tragic death.

Following Fiona’s death, Sherwin drives up to Maine to spend several days with Lucinda. The stiffness of their relationship is immediately evident, and it’s unspoken that his race plays a role in their rift, as well as the one that existed between Lucinda and her daughter.

But “Five Nights in Maine” doesn’t make anything easy. This is a drama that doesn’t go for big, showy, melodramatic moments. It treats its characters and their situation with the same respect you would extend to grieving family members at a funeral. But when it comes time to get to the nitty-gritty, “Maine” doesn’t go there. It leaves too many questions lingering — it hints at unhappiness in Sherwin and Fiona’s marriage and tiptoes around Lucinda’s damaged relationship with Fiona — and doesn’t get close enough to its characters.

Writer-director Maris Curran has made a small, handsome film with quiet, restrained performances; Oyelowo is especially good as a grieving widower still sorting through the pain of a sudden loss while trying to close open family wounds.

But too much goes unsaid and too many issues are unresolved. The scenery is nice, but “Five Nights in Maine” just isn’t worth the trip.

agraham@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2284

@grahamorama

‘Five Nights in Maine’

GRADE: C

Not rated

Running time: 96 minutes