Life During Wartime

or The Movie That Switched Titles A Few Times

….. by TeeJay

The Plot

The characters in this part-sequel/part-variation on HAPPINESS struggle to find a place for themselves in an unpredictable and volatile world. The past haunts the present and imperils the future: ghosts circle and loom, trouble and console. The question of forgiveness, and its limits, threads throughout a series of intersecting love stories, offering clarity and, possibly, alternatives to the comforts of forgetting.

There is Joy (Shirley Henderson), who discovers her husband Allen (Michael Kenneth Williams) is not quite cured of his peculiar “affliction” and runs away, seeking solace and guidance from her mother and sisters; her former suitor, Andy (Paul Reubens), now deceased, but still never giving up in his effort to win Joy’s heart; her sister Trish (Allison Janney), who meets Harvey (Michael Lerner), a lonely divorced man on the cusp of retirement, and hopes that a new man in the house will bring stability to her fragile family; her sister Helen who feels victimized by both her family and her Hollywood success; her mother Mona (Renée Taylor), who can’t let go of her bitterness about men; Harvey’s son Mark (Rich Pecci), who struggles with social isolation and profound pessimism; Bill (Ciáran Hinds), Trish’s former husband, just released from prison and on a quest to reconnect with his son Billy (Chris Marquette); Jacqueline (Charlotte Rampling), the needy woman who forgoes caution in her desperate search for love; and Kristina (Chane’t Johnson), a fugitive from prison who can’t let go of her obsessive—albeit chaste—love for Allen.

These and other characters and storylines as well—alternately funny and sad, outrageous and poignant—dovetail, expand, and collide to create a kaleidoscopic and emotionally resonant portrait of prisoners of love and life during wartime.

The Character

Chris plays Bill’s son Billy. He’s a troubled young man whose father is trying to reconnect with him after being released from prison. The relationship between them is a complicated one, and saying much more about it would spoil the movie quite a bit.