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James White’s Life Lessons

James White’s Life Lessons


A harrowing drama with a standout performance from Cynthia Nixon

Photo Courtesy of CMPR

WhenJames White opens, its title character, played by Christopher Abbott, is drinking his pain away and wearing headphones in a dark club, drowning out the thump of house music with easy listening. When he barges through the exit, daylight hits him like a truck.

Like so many 20-somethings in modern cinema, James is sniffing out a means of escape at every turn. Yet what makes James White distinct is that it bookends its story with death so its lead can learn survival. Accompanied by his best friend (Scott "Kid Cudi" Mescudi, who also scored the movie), James goes from mourning the loss of his estranged father to immediately caring for his terminally ill mother, Gail (Cynthia Nixon).

Teeming with pent-up emotions, and perpetually on the brink of tears, Abbott enters a dramatic new chapter of his career, graduating well beyond his studly Girls persona. However, this is Nixon's show, a heartrending vehicle for a fiercely committed actress who leaves vanity at the door while portraying a woman who virtually disintegrates throughout the film's duration. The ordeal not only proves to be James's alarm clock for adulthood, it may also be Nixon's finest hour.

James Whiteis in theaters Nov. 13. Watch the trailer below:

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