Letting Go (2012) – Love, Dogs & More – MOVIE REVIEW

By Geno McGahee

Joel (Jake Torem) is having a rough go of it. His longtime girlfriend, April (Shirley Brener) is having some substance abuse problems and the two have lost the connection that they once had. The relationship is in turmoil and it isn’t being helped by Joel’s three large dogs, demanding job and inner sadness over the loss of his father.

Repairing the relationship with April is what Joel wants more than anything and he is willing to do just about anything to make it happen, despite the mistreatment that he is getting at home. April is very unhappy and a lot of her rage is pointed at the dogs, which brings Joel to the decision that he must rid the home of them in order to repair the relationship.

Seeing a therapist, Joel begins breaking down his life and dissecting it. His sorrow is so strong and there just isn’t anything there that seems like it’s going to make it better, outside of rekindling the love with April. His three dogs are so dear to him, that he’s having a hard time making the choice, and his therapist begins directing him in ways that could bring happiness back into his life. As Joel analyzes his life, he begins to see things clearly and discovers the factors that have kept him from happiness, eventually making decisions to change that.

LETTING GO is written by Jake Torem and features some familiar faces like Christopher Knight, Peter Scolari and Bokeem Woodbine. It is shot very well and, at times, it’s very compelling. I enjoyed the therapist scenes and Torem’s performance. The acting was very well over all, but Torem being the writer, director, and star can sometimes be a disaster. He was able to pull it off well and he was able to carry the movie.

Shirley Brener also deserves mention. She was a very good broken character. There is an underlying wanting to be happy and be nice beneath the anger and personal problems with her character. I found her portrayal very believable and compelling. Brener was outstanding in the role.

In the end, LETTING GO is a decent watch. It drags a little here and there and I found the side stories, including Joel’s mother/boyfriend relationship, the yoga instructor and the job to be not as well developed and interesting as the spine of the movie…the Joel/April relationship. I found myself waiting for the couple to return to the screen as I sat through some of the scenes that weren’t as interesting as the others. It wasn’t enough for me to want to shut it off, but the side stories needed some work.

I recommend LETTING GO. It was a great effort by Jake Torem and the entire cast. It was shot well and I enjoyed the animation transitions that they used with regularity. It’s a sharp production and worth a watch.

Rating: 6.5/10