“HEARTLAND”— His Brother’s Girlfriend

“Heartland”

Her Brother’s Girlfriend

Amos Lassen

Young artist Lauren (Velinda Godfey) is dealing with her girlfriend Nicole’s death after a long battle with cancer and she is now totally on her own.  Her conservative and religious mother (Beth Grant) is conservative, religious and in denial about her daughter’s sexuality. Justin (Aaron Leddick), her self-absorbed brother, is too busy with his own business to be there for her. As if that is not enough, when Nicole dies, Lauren loses both her job and her apartment and she is so broke that she has to move back to her family home in rural Guthrie, Oklahoma to deal with her grief and start her life anew.

Also living at home is Justin and his girlfriend Carrie (Laura Spencer) who are working on setting up a new local winery. When Justin has to go away on a trip, Lauren and Carrie begin an unlikely friendship that unexpectedly develops further into an emotional connection and then a physical relationship. When Justin discovers what is going on, he feels betrayed by both his sister and his girlfriend.

This is a sensitive and tender tale that deals with love, loss and family dynamics. It is interesting that Lauren’s sexuality is not the focal point of the story, and her mother is the only one that refuses to accept it; no one else has any problem with it at all. The bond that forms between these two young women is the result of the fact that they both have needs that seemingly can only by met by their being together.

Godfrey both stars and co-wrote the screenplay and this is director Maura Anderson’s first feature film. The cast is excellent all around. Crystal has been a widow for 15 years now and she spends her time scrap booking and going to church. She seems to always be in a good mood. She loves her daughter, but won’t accept the fact that Lauren is a lesbian.

Justin knows how to pray when he has to pray, and how to earn money when there’s money to be earned. Carrie, his fiancé, is from the Napa Valley, and she does not really fit into Guthrie.

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