“Academy Award Nominee Anna Kendrick leads a hilarious ensemble cast – including Lisa Kudrow, Stephen Merchant and Craig Robinson – in this laugh-out-loud tale of mischief and matrimony. Relieved of her maid of honor duties after being dumped by the best man, Eloise (Kendrick) decides to attend her oldest friend’s wedding anyway and finds herself seated among random strangers in the back of the ballroom. As secrets are revealed, Eloise bonds with her tablemates and discovers that friendships, and even romance, can develop under the most unlikely circumstances.”
Self-contained stories such as Table 19, which take place all in a single location, really need to find a way to hold the audience to make them work well. While there is a bit wider area in this case, the wedding hall and surrounding area, the film still conveys a smaller scale that involves only these people that have been randomly sat at the last table. While this film doesn’t achieve the level of films such as The Breakfast Club, there are certainly many similarities between it, where a group of broken people from varying backgrounds find camaraderie in one another. As they learn about each other’s flaws, they are the only ones that can look past them and help one another to become whole again.
The first thing I noticed when starting the film was that the story was written by Mark and Jay Duplass. The Duplass brothers have been responsible for some of the more original and entertaining films in the last decade, and have created some really great independent films. Jeff, Who Lives at Home, which in my opinion is one of Jason Segel’s best roles and also written and directed by them, is another very simple and imaginative story with a very similar feel to it. They are able to encapsulate such strong emotion in their films, which will always cause me to actively seek out their films and projects.
The director, Jeffrey Blitz, also has a short but great track record, including one of my favorite films of his Rocket Science, which coincidentally is one of Anna Kendrick’s first films. The combination of these unique storytellers brings something truly unique and heartfelt.
The diversity of the characters that come to the table is also what makes the story so interesting. An old woman who used to be the nanny, a husband and wife who own a diner, a young awkward kid who is determined to meet someone at the wedding, an even more socially awkward man, and then the seemingly normal girl who was just dumped. Each one of the actors plays his or her character brilliantly, and as hard as it may seem that these people would enjoy each other’s company, you find yourself wanting them to open up and help one another. It’s through this diversity and the journey they take to trusting in one another that makes the film so unique.
A friend of mine described Duplass films as ‘a slow burn’. I can’t help but agree with that statement entirely, which may be off-putting to some people. It’s not filled with action or suspense, and it takes place at a wedding, possibly one of the most boring events for those not involved. It is easy to see that some may not find the pacing of this film particularly exciting, as it is a story that takes time to unfold and make you invested in the characters. However, for those that appreciate good stories, good characters, both tragic and heartwarming moments, this film will guarantee to be a pleasant surprise.
Table 19 is presented in 1080p High Definition Widescreen 2.39:1. The transfer is exceptional, with no defects noticed during the film. Color is balanced very well, and there is definitely a very bright and clean feel, that is complimented by the types of palate you’d expect to see at a wedding.
The audio is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. On this track, you’ll be experiencing mainly dialogue coming from the center channel. Levels are really well done here, which balance the sound with an amazing score. One reason I enjoyed the director’s previous film, Rocket Science so much was because of the unique score accompanying the film, and in Table 19 we get more of the same.
I was very disappointed with the lack of in depth features on this set. While we do get a few very short promotional featurettes, they only run about 2 minutes apiece, which make it impossible to go into depth about anything. I would’ve enjoyed a longer one, with interviews with cast and crew, and even the Duplass brothers, but I will have to take what I can get. On this set you’ll also see:
- Deleted Scenes
- Promotional Featurettes
- Theatrical Trailer
Table 19 may be a bit too slow for some people to appreciate this type of film, but the amazing ensemble cast and great writing amplifies the amazing art of storytelling, reaffirming that there are interesting and unique stories out there that don’t involve super heroes, or the next big Hollywood trend.