Sundance 2016 - The Intervention

Inside Out 2016: The Intervention Review

The Intervention is an expertly crafted dramedy, helmed by the realistic portrayals of  lost adults and a particularly excellent performance by Melanie Lynskey. The film follows three couples as they attempt to hold an intervention, hoping to persuade a fourth couple to get a divorce. Unsurprisingly, each couple has an issue of their own and the film spends most of its time unpacking the various ways romantic partnerships become threatened. The Intervention is an enjoyable film that uses its lush Savannah setting and great ensemble cast to its advantage.

Jessie (Clea DuVall, who also directed the film) and Sarah (Natasha Lyonne) play a queer couple who have been together for 3 years but do not live together, a point Sarah brings up often. Jack (Ben Schwartz) brings his much younger girlfriend Lola (Alia Shawkat) along to the dismay of Annie (Melanie Lynskey), who is in the process of sort-of planning her wedding to Matt (Jason Ritter). The constantly bickering couple Ruby (Cobie Smulders) and Peter (Vincent Piazza), provide the story’s main conflict but the secondary conflicts between the other couples are more intriguing.

It’s refreshing to see queer characters in a film where their queerness isn’t the main point of action, though Jessie and Sarah’s storyline could have been more pronounced. DuVall proves to be an apt director and while everyone in the ensemble provided good performances, Melanie Lynskey’s Annie was by far the standout. Her ability to be entirely likeable while mercilessly prying into other’s lives was a feat, and her sense of comedic timing was particularly honed in The Intervention. Despite the fact that Annie starts more of the drama than any other character, she definitely provides the most comedy. As is often the issue with ensemble films, The Intervention would have been more of a well-rounded film if it dug a bit deeper into its characters.

While it doesn’t break new ground, The Intervention  is a modern take on the classical Hollywood ensemble narrative. Each storyline ties together well, the film is well-acted and it is technically apt, though it would have benefitted from little bit more depth.