Review: MAINE Is An Exhausting Journey

maine resting
(L-R) Laia Costa as Bluebird and Thomas Mann as Lake in the Orion Classics’ drama MAINE. Photo courtesy of Orion Classics.

Maine is a new film written and directed by Matthew Brown and starring Laia Costa and Thomas Mann. It is about two hikers with very different lives whose paths cross on the Appalachian Trail. It debuted at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival.

Ultimately, this movie largely feels inconsequential. There wasn’t very much of a plot in the film, with it instead feeling like a series of interactions with an overall thematic focus. In some movies, this can work, but this film unfortunately drowns. It seems to think that it is much more profound than it actually is, although there are moments which hint at a much better movie.

The film also just isn’t that interesting. Although it has a very short runtime (less than 90 minutes), it much longer, like you could have hiked the length of the Appalachian Trail during the length of the movie. Nothing significant is happening for so much of the film that it quickly becomes boring and unpleasant.

maine field
(L-R) Laia Costa as Bluebird and Thomas Mann as Lake in the Orion Classics’ drama MAINE. Photo courtesy of Orion Classics.

Another issue with the movie is that the characters aren’t believable. Their backgrounds are somewhat ambiguous. You know some details about their outside lives, but the film excuses them from having fully developed backstories by saying that they are trying to “find themselves” on the Trail.

It’s hard to buy into the relationship between the characters too. Although people frequently team up with others and make friends while hiking, especially on long trails like the Appalachian, the extent of the character’s relationship doesn’t make sense. Furthermore, the characters seem so incompatible with each other that it’s difficult to believe that they would even become friends. The ending compounds that confusion.

maine hitchhiking
Laia Costa as Bluebird in the Orion Classics’ drama MAINE. Photo courtesy of Orion Classics.

That being said, the acting by both leads is somewhat strong. They do their best with what they are given, so they do struggle at times, but they succeed for the most part. Costa is very good in her role. She brings a lot of emotion to the character and is able to create some sympathy. Mann brings some of his usual charm to the role, but would have benefitted from a more comedic script.

The execution of the movie is admirable too. The cinematography is quite strong. There are many shots of the characters hiking the Appalachian Trail that are absolutely beautiful. Luckily, the filmmakers knew that they had a secret weapon in the natural beauty of their location, and they used it to their advantage. The film also uses diegetic sound in interesting ways.

Overall, Maine was a rather disappointing movie. It’s pretty to look at and has too strong leads, but it’s far too thinly-written to be effective.

Maine is in select theaters beginning December 13 and hits VOD on December 14.

By Sean Boelman

Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

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