Emily Browning plays Naomi in Golden Exits, the new drama from writer/director Alex Ross Perry. Naomi has arrived in New York from Australia to work as a research assistant to Nick (Adam Horovitz). Her presence causes tension in the lives and relationship Nick and his wife Alysssa (Chloë Sevigny). Those issues are fomented by Gwen (Mary-Louise Parker), Alyssa’s sister, who doesn’t trust Nick in the least.
Also impacted by Naomi’s arrival is the marriage of Buddy (Jason Schwartzman) and Jess (Analeigh Tipton). Buddy is pressured to spend time with Naomi as a favor to his family but the two begin forming a very different kind of connection. So she upends two families, who may have been teetering on the brink of collapse anyway, without much intention of sticking around to deal with the fallout.
A first one-sheet wasn’t all that interesting, just showing photos of the main cast all looking in different directions with each photo framed like it’s in some sort of old-fashioned collage frame, the kind of thing your mom had on the stairway hall in 1979.
The theatrical poster created might actually be one of my favorites in recent memory. While the right side of the poster is just a list of the cast, its festival credentials and other credits, the left is much more interesting. There you see drawings of all the main characters arranged in their various pairings. So you have Naomi and Nick, Nick and Gwen, Buddy and Jess, Jess and Sam and so on. I like how that’s a much more interesting way to present some character relationship shorthand as opposed to what was used on the first poster. I like it.
The first teaser trailer, debuting right around its Sundance debut, simply shows Browning sitting on the steps of a New York home singing a little song to herself. There’s nothing about the story, it’s just a showcase for this one aspect of her performance, meant to convey something about the movie’s attitude and vibe to the audience.
Just a couple weeks before it was scheduled to hit both theaters and digital platforms a new trailer was released that offered much more detail as to story and characters. We meet Naomi as she’s being introduced by Nick to his wife Gwendolyn and sister-in-law Alyssa. Cut to Buddy as he’s talking about feeling obligated by loose connections to meet up with Naomi and hang out with her. She, though, is developing a connection with Nick that Gwen is (rightfully) threatened by. So is Jess, Buddy’s wife, as Naomi is spending time with him as well.
There’s certainly some interesting stuff going on here. While the story doesn’t seem overly original, the performances are a major draw as most all the leads seem to be giving it their emotionally-understated all. We certainly get the message that Naomi is about to come in and throw a grenade in the lives of people who were already feeling slightly on edge. Naomi’s final line in the trailer about being prone to causing just that kind of upset makes the point that she’s aware of this propensity, even if she’s kind of addicted to continuing it.
Online and Social
The only web presence Sony seems to have created is a single page that has the first poster, the trailer, a story synopsis and cast/crew list. Because it’s available on-demand already there’s also a “Buy Now” button that takes you to iTunes to download the film.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
Nothing I’ve been exposed to.
Media and Publicity
The first bit of publicity came when it was announced the movie would have its official premiere at Sundance 2017. Like a couple other recent movies, it then sat undistributed for over a year. Nothing more seems to have been done recently.
It seems like between this movie, Nostalgia and The Boy Downstairs it’s an ideal time for studios to get romantic dramas that are, at least based on their campaigns, variations on an indie film theme we’ve been hitting for 20+ years now off their shelves. It’s like they just want to check them off a list and say they did *something* with the movies, so they’re getting pushed to limited release with little or no marketing effort.
What’s on display here seems fine. These are all talented actors and I’m sure it’s worth watching, even if we’re once again asked to become emotionally invested in the ennui of the white educated class. Again, it’s the performances that will mostly attract whatever audiences are actually aware the film is coming out so those are at the center of the limited campaign.
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.