Cast: Todd Blubaugh, Nicola Collie
Critics Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Director: Trevor Hawkins
Duration: 1 hour, 37 minutes
Genre: Adventure, Drama
Release date: February 3, 2022
A young vagabond Forrest (Todd Blubaugh) has resigned himself to living on a sailboat and drifting in life, doing odd jobs, whenever he‘s ashore. Soon, he is joined by Everly (Nicola Collie), a young girl who is enchanted by his lifestyle, and hence decides to drift along with him on a path of self-discovery. What follows next forms the crux of the story.
‘Lotawana’ starts unassumingly but manages to suck you in, as it beautifully grows on you. Forrest is a lazy lad with a care-free attitude, who has renounced the worldly comforts of home, car, air-conditioning or heating to live on a sailboat. Soon, he encounters an upbeat girl who shares the same vibes, who sort of moves-in with him. But not all days are rosy and soon they find themselves battling storms, not just at the sea but in their personal lives as well. The film transcends those emotions, pains and moments so beautifully that you find yourself moved by it.
Writer-director Trevor Hawkins does a fine job of convincing his audience in one scene alone where we see how the minds of the two protagonists are different yet same. This is right at the beginning when they are talking about how they will deal with the future. Everly asks Forrest how he will take care of her in the future. “I thought you will take care of me,” pat comes the reply. She says, “No, I gotta dance,” and he says, “eh we’ll figure out.” The breezy banter is just a hint of what will follow and why, but there is a high amount unpredictability in the narrative, which stays rooted in realism.
There are enough twists and turns that come so suddenly and leave you with no choice, but to relish it. The graph of the film, despite being slow at times, is nowhere boring, and simply serves as a solid build-up to a shocking climax.
The film thrives on its lead pair and their chemistry, and they are very believable as a young couple, who met by chance. The restraint when needed is accurately performed by them. Just between the two of them, they manage to keep us engaged.
The writing is so strong that it doesn’t need the frills of a big-scale production. It’s a relatable tale of human relationships, desires and reality that is simple yet told masterfully. A tussle between giving up worldly things and also wanting it when you see others having it is beautifully showcased.
EMMY Award winning filmmaker, Trevor Hawkins has created his first independent feature-film, ‘Lotawana,’ in his own backyard on Lake Lotawana, Missouri-USA, by writing, directing, shooting, editing and financing it. This one’s nothing short of a masterpiece and will go places.