Chris Mollica, Frank Failla, Angelica Adams, Eleanor Brandle-Frank, Peppa Brandle-Frank
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
Kenneth R. Frank
Winner of Best Feature Film at the Long Island International Film Expo, Family Obligations tells the story of Peter (Chris Mollica), whose father suddenly dies leaving him the unexpected caretaker for a mostly forgotten uncle, Frank (Frank Failla). As he does what he must to get Frank to and from doctors, Peter meets Melanie (Chandler Rosenthal).
Melanie, a single mom, isn't like Peter. She sees the opportunities available in meeting people rather than the burden or potential obstacles.
Peter likes Melanie.
The key selling point of Family Obligations is the low-key, slightly humorous and honest performance turned in by Chris Mollica as Frank, whose character shifts over the course of the film yet never so dramatically that it becomes a sweeping, unbelievable transition. Mollica keeps it real and that keeps you invested in Frank's journey.
Put together by the team behind the Comedy Dynamics release The Mix, Family Obligations has been picked up by indie distributor Proven Entertainment and is available via the usual streaming outlets with Amazon Prime to start followed by iTunes, Roku and others.
While Family Obligations has its share of technical concerns, key among them being an inconsistent sound mix and some serious color grading issues, the film's mostly engaging story and heartfelt relationships make it worth your while. While they seem like polar opposites, the relationship between Peter and Frank is rather endearing as Failla compellingly brings to life Frank's curmudgeonly ways. The relationship between Peter and Melanie, as well, is immensely enjoyable and kudos must be given to young Eleanor Brandle-Frank as Melanie's daughter Mia.
Family Obligations is a fairly predictable, mostly formulaic motion picture. It's the kind of film you expect to see showing up in smalltown indie film fests later to gain new life in its streaming distribution. It's an engaging film, yet not the kind of film you'll ever really see in movie theaters. That doesn't mean it's not worth watching...in fact, some of the best cinema being made these days never really makes it into the movie theaters. So, hey. Give it a chance and you may find yourself pleasantly surprised by this technically flawed yet engaging film.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic