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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat


Lebanon, PA
Directed by Ben Hickernell
Monarch Home Video 04/11 DVD/VHS Feature Film
PG-13 - thematic material and some sexual content

Transitions are important spaces in our lives of constant activity. These fallow zones slow us down and enable us to take a hard look at who we are and what is missing in our fast-paced lifestyle. This in-between zone can be quite uncomfortable since most of us are not used to dealing with no schedules or deadlines. But gradually we adjust to this new rhythm and begin to seriously consider needed changes in our lives. Transitions are spiritual openings that provide new meanings and transformation. Ben Hickernell is the writer, director, and producer of Lebanon, PA, a modest film that immerses us in the transitional time in an ad executive's life.

Will (Josh Hopkins) works for a large advertising agency in Philadelphia. He returns home to Lebanon, Pennsylvania, a small, rural town, to bury his estranged father. His mother (Mary Beth Hurt), who lives on her own, wants him to sell the house. Much to Will's surprise, his cousin Andy (Ian Merrill Peakes), a Catholic truck driver, reaches out to him and invites him to dinner. His perky teenage daughter CJ (Rachel Kitson) is quite impressed by Will and has hopes of going to college in Philadelphia. Meanwhile, this city slicker has fallen for Vicki (Samantha Mathis), a teacher who is married. He is so taken with her that he even begins thinking about settling down in Lebanon.

Will realizes that CJ needs his help when she tells him that she is pregnant. Her father brings the local priest to argue his case for her marrying and keeping the child. At Planned Parenthood, CJ hears the other side of the debate and makes her own decision.

There is no doubt that Will is affected by all the experiences he has in his small hometown. He takes them all in and opens to a new softness and sweetness in himself that is a sign of transformation.

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Reviews and database copyright 1970 2012
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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