Watch To Leslie
- 1 hr 59 min
To Leslie is a powerful drama released in 2022 that tells the story of a single mother struggling with life's hardships and her battle with addiction. Directed by Michael Morris, the film stars Andrea Riseborough in the title role, with notable supporting performances from Drew Youngblood and Tom Virtue, among others. The movie opens to Leslie, a West Texas single mother, who, years after winning the lottery, has nothing left due to her excessive lifestyle and alcohol addiction. Having squandered her fortune, her relationships, and any sense of stability she had, Leslie finds herself at rock bottom, battling with the harsh realities of her choices and their consequences.
Andrea Riseborough's performance as Leslie is the emotional core of the film. She portrays a deeply flawed protagonist with complex layers, who is both the architect of her downfall and simultaneously an empathetic character. Riseborough's portrayal delves into the nuances of addiction, desperation, and hope, creating a character that audiences can connect with despite her many mistakes.
Drew Youngblood plays the character of James, Leslie's son, who is marked by his mother's dysfunction and unreliability. His journey reflects the collateral damage of Leslie’s actions, and his relationship with his mother is intense and complicated, fraught with feelings of abandonment and resentment, and yet underscored by an undeniable bond. This dynamic between mother and son brings an added layer of sentiment and tension to the narrative as it explores the themes of family, forgiveness, and the effects of addiction on loved ones.
Tom Virtue, in a supporting role, embodies another aspect of the community that Leslie is both a part of and estranged from. He, along with a cast of characters Leslie encounters along her path, serve to highlight both the worst and best of human nature when faced with someone like Leslie—broken and seemingly beyond help. Each character Leslie interacts with acts as a mirror, reflecting a facet of her past and her potential futures, providing depth to the overarching storyline.
Set against the stark and unforgiving landscape of small-town Texas, the cinematography of To Leslie paints a picture of a world where vast open spaces can seem claustrophobic when life's options appear to be closing in. The setting itself acts as a character in the film—a place of beauty, hardship, and solitude that both mirrors and magnifies Leslie's internal struggle.
Morris’s direction takes the audience on an emotional journey through Leslie’s efforts to get sober and rebuild her life. The film doesn’t shy away from depicting the cyclical nature of addiction, but it also offers a compassionate look at redemption and the possibility of recovery, even in the face of long odds. Both the direction and the script treat the subject matter with respect and authenticity, never turning Leslie into a caricature but instead presenting her as a multifaceted person whose actions are often difficult to witness.
As Leslie stumbles through her days, trying to make sense of where it all went wrong, she encounters a series of individuals who each contribute in their own ways to her journey towards potential redemption. She is offered moments of grace and help, setting off sparks of resilience that suggest change may be possible. What unfolds is a story of survival and human connection, put to the test by the harsh realities of economic decline and personal demons.
The film also leverages its soundtrack and score to punctuate the storytelling, underscoring Leslie’s emotional highs and lows with a mix of diegetic and non-diegetic music that compliments the film’s gritty and raw aesthetic. It's in these details that the film finds its rhythm—a delicate balance between despair and hope.
To Leslie is not just a character study—it’s an exploration of layers of social issues such as poverty, alcohol abuse, and the struggle for redemption. The nuanced screenplay provides a canvas for these subjects to unravel, compelling the audience to confront their own preconceptions about addiction and the idea of second chances.
In sum, To Leslie is a film that showcases Andrea Riseborough's remarkable talent, supported by a stellar cast in a moving and human portrayal of struggle, loss, and the quest for redemption. It is a poignant reminder of the fragility of life and the enduring strength of the human spirit. The movie resonates long after the credits roll, inviting viewers to reflect on the resilience required to change one's life and the importance of compassion in the face of human frailty.
To Leslie is a 2022 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 59 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.1 and a MetaScore of 84.