By CAINE GARDNER
The pain of divorce can be traumatizing for any child, the stark reality in which this is captured in Jake's Closet is stunning.
Jake's Closet is a spellbinding story about the effects that divorce has on a family, especially the children. Jake (Anthony DeMarco) struggles to come to terms with his parents' divorce and to make things worse -- something is lurking in his closet. Terrorizing his sleep and then intruding into his waking hours, a dark figure prowls the shadows, keeping young Jake paralyzed with fear and mirrors the decline in the relationship of his parents.
The flick is brutally honest in its portrayal of the feelings of anger, rejection and loss that permeate a relationship gone bad. We see Jules (Brooke Bloom), Jake's mother, as she goes from being hopeful, to feeling slighted and ultimately using her son as a pawn in the divorce.
The relationships between DeMarco, Bloom and Sean Bridgers are seamless, which makes the heartbreak even more substantial. As with the case with most divorces, one parent is painted as the villain, which in reality might not be the case. Jules, at the insistence of her neighbor friend, begins to breakdown Jake's father in at attempt to pull the child closer to herself.
The realization of the final scene for Jake stops both he and the viewer in their tracks and closes a movie that I found to be extremely enjoyable.
What sells this film is the wonderful performance from DeMarco as Jake, a lost, scared six-year old boy who is struggling to come to terms with his parents' divorce. It's easy to get caught up in his mind and his hypnotic performance is nothing short of astounding.
Bridgers is solid, but Bloom is it. The viewer experiences a wide spectrum of emotions as her character develops throughout the story. It reminded me of Meryl Streep's performance in Kramer vs. Kramer and how easy it was to dislike her. While her performance is not perfect, her ability to elicit such a strong response from the viewer more than makes up for it.
In addition to the standard deleted and behind the scenes extra, the disk also has resources for parents and children who are going through or have just gone through a divorce.
The film is executive produced and edited by Joel Watson from Terre Haute. Watson is currently prepping his next project Nightshade, a horror film that will mark his feature film-directing debut.
Final Cut: I had this film fall into my lap and I'm very happy that it did. I found myself hooked from the opening scene and found the final scene satisfying. Director Shelli Ryan provides a candid track commentary that gives some great insight to the film and is almost as much of a pleasure as the movie itself.
Dir: Shelli Ryan
Writer: Shelli Ryan
Starring: Anthony DeMarco, Brooke Bloom and Sean Bridgers
* Behind the Scenes
* Deleted Scenes
* Theatrical Trailer
* Monster Make-up School
Special Bonus Features for Parents
* Parenting Through Divorce movie
* Resources Menu for Parents
* Children and Grief Movie