Review: “Stuff” Infuses Relationships, Parenthood

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“Stuff” is an example of a new wave of films that go far beyond coming out stories to deal with relationship and parenthood issues in a contemporary society where marriage between same-sex couples is a done deal.

Everybody has their own “stuff” in life, and one of the challenges for people in relationships is deciding if it’s to be tackled alone or with their partner. In this movie from filmmaker Suzanne Guacci, a couple together for 14 years is faced with choices after veering down different paths.

Trish, played by Karen Sillas (“Under Suspicion”), who bares a slight resemblance to actress Jessica Lange, loses a parent and chooses to deal with her mother (Phyllis Somerville), her surviving parent, on her own. A dentist, she’s the controlling sort, and effectively and insensitively shuts out her wife, Deb (Yvonne Jung, “Third Watch”), and two daughters.

Deb, a stay-at-home-mom, and the adorable girls (scene stealers Maya Guacci and Brianna Scudiero), continue on with their day-to-day life and a couple of milestones without Trish. Deb becomes close with a sexy tattoo artist/single mom she meets at school, played by Traci Dinwiddie (“Elena Undone”).

While the film does an effective job of showing the real-life joys, trials and obligations of raising a family, and the “stuff” that sometimes unexpectedly gets life off track, Trish’s predicament would warrant a little more sympathy if she didn’t come off so self-centered and totally oblivious to the family—missing family dinners, not returning phone calls–that should be her first priority.

Deb, on the other hand, is more sympathetic, even though she is the one who ultimately does more to threaten the family unit.

Journalist Laurie Schenden covers the entertainment industry, with many of her notable celebrity interviews appearing in the Los Angeles Times and other national and international publications. As a longtime columnist and feature writer for the LA Times, she also covered events and California destinations for the lifestyle, Outdoors and Travel sections. Laurie Schenden's international pieces include the long-running Where Are They Now celebrity feature for Spotlight Magazine, published in five languages. Laurie has also contributed to numerous documentary films, and produces content via Saving Grace Films.

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