Road trip! This time it is two women going from Los Angeles on a circuitous route to Portland, Oregon. Mads (Jennifer Stone – from television’s The Wizards of Waverly Place) and Junior (Mindy Bledsoe – first feature film) are good friends. Both have medical conditions – Mads is diabetic and Junior has a chronic pain syndrome – and different reasons for going on this road trip. Mads needs to go through South Dakota to renew her driver’s license and Junior wants to go to Portland, Oregon in tribute to her deceased sister and hoping to let go of the past.
The tricky part is that as close as they are (they even call each other by nicknames), Mads is keeping a secret from Junior. And it is a big one. One that is going to tear them apart once it comes out.
Like life, the 78 minutes of this film, directed by Mindy Bledsoe, are like a roller coaster with plenty of ups and downs. One moment you are laughing at the two young women’s shenanigans while the next you are sad due to what has happened to them in their pasts. Several interesting human subjects are delved into including abandonment (Mads by her mother, Junior by Mads), betrayal, illnesses and how we deal with them, and the keeping of secrets.
While this is a low budget film it doesn’t feel like one. Mostly because of the subject matter. Lots happens in hotel rooms or in the car on the road, so did not require tons of budget. Really this is a buddy film. Not the type which has become popular with tons of action or the like, rather it is about humans. How they relate and deal with life.
Layered like life, the two women here are rather complex. Ably brought to life by the two actresses, who also bring gravitas to the illnesses their characters are afflicted with. They do not allow the diabetes or pain to define the two women. Rather it is just a part of who they are. A great example of diversity being up on screen. Plus how it should be handled.