“I just want to say, I’m glad Mom didn’t die of Covid,” Bobby Worth (Henry Winkler) said in “Family Squares,” a movie told via FaceTime, Zoom and instant phone calls. immediately before and after the death of the Worth family’s matriarch, Mabel (June Squibb).
The fact that a dying loved one is hiding from the virus may be little consolation to those grieving, but it is this plot point that allows Stephanie Laing, writer and director, to create a lighthearted rejoicing. in the face of the general predicament of our pandemic. Her film is an entertaining and moving look at the feuds, resentments, and secrets that can surface when someone dies.
The film emphasizes the idea that it’s never too late to tell the truth or repair torn bonds. Mabel, on videos played after her death, urged her descendants to mend their broken relationship.
The all-star cast is introduced in a busy network: Faces include Bobby, son of Mabel; daughter, Diane (Margo Martindale); his last mate, Judith (Ann Dowd); with many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
After less than a minute of delusions, Chad (Scott MacArthur), a whistle-blowing grandson hiding in Russia, asks them to raise their hands when they want to speak; others responded with a mocking middle finger.
The inherent clumsiness of interactions with Zoom gives rise to other humorous moments, such as Cassie’s (Elsie Fisher) decision to sit with Mabel’s body “until the free session is over.” When she was still there a little while later, her father asked incredulously, “How has it not expired?” (She upgraded to a premium account, using his credit card.)
Laing’s writing is sharp, drawing characters alive and revealing family tensions through intense dialogue. For example, one niece, Dorsey (Judy Greer), while digging through her older sister, Katie (Casey Wilson), commented, “Your kitchen looks great. How much did you spend on that repair? ”
Shot during quarantine in 2020, “Family Squares” uses the communication tools of the pandemic era to deliver a film with the intimacy of a family movie, while still exploring the chaos and limitations of technology.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/24/movies/family-squares-review.html ‘Family Squares’ Comments on Pandemic, Zoom and Human Nature