The Color Wheel

Watch The Color Wheel

"An objectionable comedy about disappointment and forgiveness."
  • NR
  • 2011
  • 1 hr 23 min
  • 6.6  (1,878)
  • 53

The Color Wheel is an independent film from 2011 that follows two siblings, JR and Colin, as they embark on a road trip together. A black-and-white film, shot on 16mm, it opens with JR (played by Carlen Altman) being kicked out of graduate school and turning to her brother Colin (played by Alex Ross Perry) for help. The two siblings decide to embark on a road trip together, driving from New York City to their parents' house in Missouri, only to discover that their father has recently passed away.

The film is a character study of these two siblings, both of whom seem to be struggling with their own sense of identity and purpose. JR is an aspiring television host, full of manic energy and a desire for attention, while Colin is a struggling writer who is bitter about his lack of success. Their dynamic is contentious, at best, with each pushing the other's buttons at every turn.

While the film is ostensibly a comedy, there is a sense of sadness and melancholy that pervades throughout. The humor is often dark and biting, with much of the comedy coming from the awkward silences and uncomfortable exchanges between the two siblings. At times, it feels like a modern-day take on the classic road trip movie, but with a much more existential and philosophical bent.

One of the most interesting things about The Color Wheel is the way it uses the black-and-white film stock to create a sense of nostalgia and timelessness. The film has a very classic Hollywood aesthetic, with the cinematography and lighting feeling almost like something out of a film noir. This serves to further underline the sense of melancholy that pervades throughout the movie, as though these siblings are trapped in a time and place that is no longer relevant.

The performances in The Color Wheel are all excellent, with Carlen Altman and Alex Ross Perry both turning in nuanced and complex performances. Altman in particular is a revelation, bringing a manic energy and a sense of vulnerability to her character that is both captivating and unsettling. Kate Lyn Sheil also delivers a standout performance as an ex-girlfriend of Colin's who appears later in the film.

Overall, The Color Wheel is a deeply uncomfortable and often unsettling film, but one that is ultimately rewarding for those willing to engage with it on its own terms. It's a film that challenges its audience to confront their own sense of identity and purpose, and to question whether the things we think we want in life are really worth pursuing. It's a film that will stick with you long after the credits have rolled, and one that is well worth seeking out for fans of indie cinema.

The Color Wheel is a 2011 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 23 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.6 and a MetaScore of 53.

The Color Wheel
Where to Watch The Color Wheel
The Color Wheel is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV Channels, The Roku Channel, Apple TV, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Color Wheel for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 23 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.6  (1,878)
  • Metascore