A truly unique and visually stunning take on meta-fiction, Lovely By Surprise follows the journey of novelist Marian Walker as she attempts to finish her first novel. Facing the age-old problem of writer's block, Marian seeks advice from a mentor and ex-lover. His seemingly innocent advice to kill the book's protagonist unleashes chaos in her life as a willful protagonist escapes from her novel and appears in the unresolved corners of her past. At turns funny, lyrical, dark and mysterious, this enigmatic film explores past and present, art and reality, life and death, ultimately revealing the strength and beauty of the human heart.
- Indie Memphis Film Festival 2009 (Memphis, United States)
- Florida Film Festival 2008 (Maitland, United States)
- Jackson Hole Film Festival 2008 (Jackson Hole, United States)
- Newport Beach Film Festival 2008 (Newport Beach, United States)
- Philadelphia Film Festival 2008 (Philadelphia, United States)
- USA Film Festival 2008 (Dallas, United States)
- Edinburgh International Film Festival 2007 (Edinburgh, United Kingdom)
- Seattle International Film Festival 2007 (Seattle, United States)
- St.Louis International Film Festival 2007 (St.Louis, United States)
- Audience Award - Feature Film (Winner)
2009 Indie Memphis Film Festival (Memphis, United States)
- New American Cinema Special Jury Prize (Winner)
2007 Seattle International Film Festival (Seattle, United States)
- New Filmmakers Forum Award (Winner)
2007 St.Louis International Film Festival (St.Louis, United States)
"A terrific film."
-Scott Foundas, NY Times/Variety/Village Voice/LA Weekly
"Lovely By Surprise is a playful and profound literary confection - a brilliantly original debut by Kirt Gunn, one of the most exciting prospects working in American indie cinema."
-Nick Dawson Filmmaker Magazine
"The brilliance of a truly great book is that at the end you are simply a different person. There are four movies that have made me feel something similar ... and Lovely By Surprise is one of them."
Lovely By Surprise Reviewwritten by nic on Aug 17th, 2011read all my reviews
this review is from: Lovely By Surprise (ON DEMAND)
“Lovely By Surprise” is the directorial debut of Kirt Gunn. There was a good part of this movie that, at first glance seemed to me to be a lot of nonsensical storylines that had no point to them…But that’s where I was wrong. As I paid more attention I noticed an intricate story being woven by the director (who also penned this picture) that was reminiscent of films by David Lynch and Alfred Hitchcock. Kirt mixes drama and comedy with a deft hand and leaves the audience wondering if what they’re viewing is fact, fiction, or fantasy. To review this movie in a linear form would be a disservice to the story and would not give the reader a good view of what I just watched. But I’ll try to give you a few story points to introduce you to the concepts of the movie.
Marion (Carrie Preston) is an author that seems to believe that the characters in her book are real. The story interplays around her trouble writing these characters, and their actual perceived existance upon a houseboat that doesn’t actually reside in water. So far so good right? Well…
Cut to another story of troubled car salesman Bob (Reg Rogers) and his mute-by-choice daughter Mimi (Lena Lamer). Bob is undergoing an existential crisis following the death of his wife and the rift it’s created between he and his daughter. Bob isn’t very successful at selling cars because he dispatches his own brand of philosophic advice to his customers, convincing them that they don’t need a car.
There is no interplay between any of these characters and you are left wondering fairly far into the story what it all means. That is until one of the characters from Marion’s book, Humkin (Michael Chernus) escapes from his prison on the land-locked houseboat and ends up meeting up with Bob at the car dealership where he works. The interesting part here is that, Humkin is self aware of his author, and of his predicament, and rather than fall prey to his master’s plans (she attempts to have another character kill him), he decides to choose to live his own life instead, dispatching his own brand of childlike pearls of wisdom as well.
Marion’s story is really the core of this movie, and to give away the ending or more of the plot would make it unwatchable (much like many of Lynch’s movies, which hinge on the plot reveal at the end). Instead I’ll leave it at this: “Lovely By Surprise” was just that, living up to its title.