Petunia

DIRECTOR: Ash Christian

Expected guests: director Ash Christian, actors Thora Birch, Michael Urie, Jimmy Heck

Meek, neurotic blogger Charlie Petunia is supposed to be celibate, but he’s in love with a man who lives in the apartment downstairs. His family isn’t faring much better: newly married brother Michael (Eddie Kaye Thomas) frets over his indifferent wife Vivian (Thora Birch) who is pregnant with somebody’s baby but secretly sleeping with Michael and Charlie’s other brother, Adrian, a sex addict who spends his days immortalizing on canvas the private parts of women he has known. Meanwhile, his deeply withdrawn psychoanalyst parents Felicia (Christine Lahti) and Percy (David Rasche) are struggling through a bout of empty nest syndrome and coping with marital problems of their own particular sort.

As if not to be outdone, unwitting Charlie, the family mediator, promptly falls for Vivian’s cousin, the very attractive George (Ugly Betty’s Michael Urie). After Charlie’s sexual sobriety flies out the window, his temporary sanity soon follows when George’s health-nut spouse returns from vacation, and they all become embroiled in a three-way relationship where nobody seems to get what they want.

Stepping out from the small-town environs of his previous features, director Ash Christian (Mangus!, Frameline35; Fat Girls, Frameline30) delivers a lovely New York City story about a New York City family. Petunia is a comedy at heart, but it’s also a film about the desire and denial that rules our lives, and the tricky way it has of righting itself—whether we like it or not.

— JACKSON SCARLETT

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: F140

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