The father sets up the camera timer. The family sits on the couch, the mother cradling their new arrival, a baby girl named Laura. The eight-year-old boy smiles.
The family plays in the family room. The mom bounces the baby up and down on the floor. He shakes the rattle and helps her with her first steps. At her first birthday party, he stays by her as his mother holds her, cooing. The mother blows out the candle.
Against a navy blue background, James Arthur and his band perform.
On the kitchen table, Laura draws a picture, showing Mommy in the clouds while her father and brother wave next to their house. During dinner, the dad tells his children to eat their vegetables. Her older brother covers his eyes, counting. She jumps up and down on the grass.
Laura blows out the candles on her 9th birthday. Her father gives her a bracelet with her name on it. Timing the camera again, the family poses again on the couch. Laura forces a smile, clenching her teeth while her brother grins widely. Her father tucks them in at night.
At her 16th birthday party, she blows out her candles, the bracelet her father gave her years ago now a necklace dangling around her neck. She puts her head on her dad’s shoulder, thanking him.
Two years later, she gets a beer out of the refrigerator and stares the picture she drew as at eight years old. While eating dinner, her father tells her she’s messing up her life. Her brother leaves the dinner table, upset that their father could be hateful towards her. On the driveway, she smokes a cigarette and calls her boyfriend. They go to a bar where they drink and play pool. She has sex with him but feels nothing as his mouth touches her skin.
Her brother asks her about the empty bottles he found under her bed. She rolls over in bed, her hand on her forehead, telling him to leave her alone. She screams at her father to stay out of her room and slams her bedroom door. She sits on her bed, crying.
On a rainy night, she hands her driver’s license over to a police officer. She takes a mug shot at the station for her Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge.
At the restaurant, she stares at her nails while her father asks her to blow out the candles. She walks out. That night, she hangs out with her friends, taking photos on their phones and drinking. She dances with strangers at a club. One of the guys films her on the her phone, hungover and tear-streaked. She slaps him. She calls her brother, remembering how he has been there for her. As a little girl, she would hear her dad sobbing after dinner. Then, he began to drink. Her brother puts his coat over her and they get in his car.
The next day, her brother opens her bedroom door, checking on her.
Laura didn’t ever recover from her mother’s passing. For most of her life, there has been a void. She had to learn everything on her own. She didn’t have anyone to ask about her period or teach her how to braid her hair. Her father tried the best he could. But he was suffering, too. He secretly began to drink and it became a problem when she was a junior in high school. He would blame her for something he did, calling her a drunk. She thinks she reminded him too much of her mother.
To cope, she started to drink heavily herself and got arrested. She wished every day she had her mother. Sex didn’t give her any release from the pain. However, a one-night stand following her after she left his house frightened her. She called her brother, whom she could always rely on, to pick her up.
Her brother had been the rock of the family, stepping in when his father screaming at her and getting her to stop drinking. He gave up a lot of time with friends and sports, intervening between them and taking care of the house when his father sit on the couch all day, beer in hand.
Director: N/A Year: 2016
This post contains affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission from items purchased through them