How to Make the Cruelest Month

Watch How to Make the Cruelest Month

"Warning: Smoking more; Falling in love less than hoped"
  • 1998
  • 1 hr 39 min
  • 6.9  (78)

How to Make the Cruelest Month is a 1998 drama film directed by Kip Koenig, starring Clea DuVall, JD Souther, and Mary Kay Place. The film explores the themes of family dynamics, grief, and identity. The movie takes place in a small town in upstate New York during the month of April. The story centers on Clay (JD Souther), a successful architect who returns to his hometown to visit his family after a long absence. He is welcomed by his sister, Carol (Mary Kay Place), who lives on the family farm with her daughter, Charlotte (Clea DuVall).

Charlotte is a troubled teenager who is grieving the death of her father. She is struggling to come to terms with her loss and feels disconnected from the rest of her family. As the story progresses, we see Charlotte's journey of self-discovery as she tries to find her place in the world.

Meanwhile, Carol is dealing with her own personal struggles. She is worried about the farm's financial situation and feels overwhelmed by her responsibilities. Her relationship with Clay is also strained as they have unresolved issues from their childhood.

The film employs a nonlinear narrative structure, with flashbacks and dream sequences that add depth to the characters and their relationships. Through these devices, we get to know more about the family history and the events that led up to their current situation.

The performances in How to Make the Cruelest Month are top-notch. Clea DuVall delivers a powerful performance as Charlotte, bringing depth and vulnerability to her character. Mary Kay Place is excellent as Carol, portraying her character's anxiety and inner turmoil with nuance and sensitivity. JD Souther is also impressive as Clay, bringing a sense of ambiguity to his character that keeps the audience guessing about his true intentions.

One of the film's strengths is its exploration of family dynamics. The movie delves into the complexities of sibling relationships, as well as the tension between parents and their children. The story also highlights the generational divide, as Carol struggles to connect with her daughter's generation and their values.

Overall, How to Make the Cruelest Month is a thought-provoking and poignant drama that examines the human condition with sensitivity and depth. The film's nonlinear structure and strong performances make for a compelling viewing experience, while the themes of family, grief, and identity resonate long after the credits roll. If you are a fan of character-driven dramas, this movie is definitely worth checking out.

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  • Release Date
  • Runtime
    1 hr 39 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.9  (78)