Take Me To The River

Review: “Take Me To The River” shows promise

Writer-director Matt Sobel's first feature is about a gay California teen attending a family reunion in Nebraska

Anyone who’s ever left home and came back for a family reunion gets it. In those unavoidably awkward (re)encounters with folks you haven’t interacted with in a long time, there’s that overwhelming sense you’d never actively seek out their company were you not related. Matt Sobel’s debut film, “Take Me To The River,” tells of one such trip. Its teen protagonist, Ryder, framed in the film’s opening shot directly between his parents, is clearly not excited for another reunion in Nebraska with his mother’s family.

Not the only awkward dinner-table conversation in Matt Sobel's film "Take Me to the River"

Not the only awkward dinner-table conversation in Matt Sobel’s film “Take Me to the River”

Ryder (Logan Miller, “The Stanford Prison Experiment”) has good reason to be leery of this trip. He wants to come out this extended family. He’s not afraid of his homosexuality, but his mother, Cindy, warning of (or, perhaps, hiding behind) her relatives’ close-mindedness, is terrified by this idea, and asks him to keep mum. She’s played by the great TV character actor, Robin Weigert (who killed as Calamity Jane on “Deadwood”), is a mass of contradictory emotions and subtle tics.

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