In what seems like a long time gone but was only a year ago, in October 2019 when theatres were still open and film festivals were taking place live in person, Writer, director and lead actress Melora Walters’ (Magnolia, Boogie Nights) film, Drowning, made its debut at the Rome Film Festival.

It is a film which follows the story of a middle aged mother who is dealing with all kinds of feelings when her only son is deployed to war in Iraq. The story was inspired by Walters’ own experience with a son being in the U.S. armed forces and going off to Iraq and then Syria.

Oft has the situation of soldiers going off to war been looked at, but this is one of the rare investigations as to what happens to those left back at home. How they deal with the feelings and anxiety that crops up when you just have no idea the well being of your loved one.

Rose (Melora Walters) feels anxiety and guilt when her only son, who is in the U.S. Reserves is deployed to Iraq. Though she is in a relationship with Frank (Gil Bellows – The Shawshank Redemption, Run This Town) and has a job in a book store owned by Mary (Mira Sorvino – Mighty Aphrodite, Teh Replacement Killers), Rose’s whole life and every waking moment seems preoccupied by her son.

Some around her are frustrated by the fact that Rose has halted her life to live in a kind of state of stasis while worried about her son. She won’t commit to her boyfriend. Won’t go on vacation. Doesn’t do much of anything except worry. She lives in fear despite seeming to have a great life.

While the emotions here are heartfelt and genuine there is something about the story which does not draw you in like it should. I kept feeling like I should care more. Maybe it was the quirkiness or shrillness of the lead character? Maybe it was the bareness of the script which does not feature many, if any, frills. Dunno….

Drowning is now available on all digital VOD platforms.