The movie Diane happens to be about a woman of a certain age, played to perfection by Mary Kay Place, in one of the most compelling performances of the year. Diane happens to be based on writer/director Kent Jones’ mother, dealing with friends and family around her in dramatic circumstance or dying, and a son (Jake Lacy) struggling with drug addiction in rural Massachusetts, where, by the way, a good deal of Bible thumping serves as a threat.
Best of all, the constellation around Diane is a who’s who of marvelous actresses including Andrea Martin, Estelle Parsons, Joyce Van Patten, and Deidre O’Connell. They portray Diane’s support system, and the women she cares for. As they dwindle away, Diane becomes a portrait of an unforgettable woman: just watch her groove to the music or shoot up in a dream sequence. Kent Jones is especially wonderful at creating detailed settings, visioning her world in kitchens, on frumpy couches, and in local bars.
Attending the Tribeca Film Festival for a special screening, Mary Kay Place said her dance as she’s getting sloshed in a bar was her own inclusion; her moves situate her squarely as a boomer with some atoning to do, emblematic of an era hesitant to age. Kent Jones has received Tribeca’s Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature.