3 Backyards

3 Backyards

5.0 2
Director: Eric Mendelsohn

Cast: Embeth Davidtz, Edie Falco, Elias Koteas


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Three dark-hued tales of life in a seemingly quiet Long Island suburb collide in this ambitious drama from writer and director Eric Mendelsohn. John (Elias Koteas) and his wife (Kathryn Erbe) are clearly unhappy with one another, though they don't want to talk about what's


Three dark-hued tales of life in a seemingly quiet Long Island suburb collide in this ambitious drama from writer and director Eric Mendelsohn. John (Elias Koteas) and his wife (Kathryn Erbe) are clearly unhappy with one another, though they don't want to talk about what's wrong, and when his flight out of town is canceled at the last minute, John decides not to go home. Instead, he checks into a motel and spends his spare time wandering the neighborhood where he used to live. Peggy (Edie Falco) is a middle-aged housewife driven to distraction by boredom, and she's initially thrilled when she discovers that a popular actress (Embeth Davidtz) has moved in next door. However, when the actress asks Peggy for a lift down to a nearby ferry, it leads to an unfortunate confrontation. And when eight-year-old Christina (Rachel Resheff) misses her school bus after swiping some jewelry from her mother's bedroom, she tried to walk there on her own. Taking a shortcut through the woods, Christina finds herself in a strange neighborhood, where she's exposed to the corrupt influences of the adult world. 3 Backyards received its world premiere at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
It took over a decade for director Eric Mendelsohn to follow up his 1999 debut, Judy Berlin, but his sophomore effort, 3 Backyards, plays like it could have come out in 2000 or even in 1990, when Sundance was loaded with intimate human dramas shot in actual locations not often used by Hollywood. The director returns to Long Island to tell a triptych of tales that transpire over a few hours in a sleepy, seemingly idyllic Long Island suburb. John (Elias Koteas) is having unspecified marriage problems. After a business trip is unexpectedly delayed, he uses that time to just wander around, but keeps bumping into an immigrant woman trying to get a job. Meanwhile, housewife Peggy (Edie Falco) gets an unexpected knock on her door from a celebrity neighbor, an actress (Embeth Davidtz) of some note, who asks Peggy for a ride to the ferry. On the same day, eight-year-old Christina (Rachel Resheff) loses her mother's bracelet on the way to school, and must get it back from a seemingly disturbing stranger. With a film that serves up so little in the way of plot, the photography and the actors need to carry the load, and in those two regards the movie holds together -- though sometimes just barely. The cast is engaging, but the movie is so delicate that the performers mute their charisma. Koteas has a great face, and although we can always tell that John is feeling emotions very deeply, much of the time we're not sure exactly what the emotion is. Falco and Davidtz are two superb actresses, and their big scene is a showcase of understatement -- which is impressive since both of them are on the verge of tears through most of it. In fact, "understatement" is the perfect word to describe Mendelsohn's entire approach to this material, yet sometimes he gives us so little it's unclear if he's "stating" anything at all. There are numerous close-up shots of animals and plants to remind us that humans are out of place in this world, and that's pretty much the overall point of the film itself -- we watch three recognizable characters who, through the course of normal interactions with strangers, suddenly realize their lives either aren't as good, or as bad, as they thought. That's not exactly a revelatory goal for a filmmaker, but Mendelsohn's subtleness fits his aims perfectly. He's not demanding you pay attention, just pointing out that if you are open to the world you might be surprised by what you discover about yourself.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Screen Media
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Embeth Davidtz Actress
Edie Falco Peggy
Elias Koteas John
Rachel Resheff Christina
Wesley Broulik Big Man
Kathryn Erbe John's Wife
Danai Gurira Woman in Blue Dress
Anna Arvia Heavyset Matron
Randi Kaplan Jill
Pam La Testa Waitress
Sandor Tecsy Gus
Peyton R. List Emily
Dana Eskelson Debbie
Ron Phillips Christina's Father
Kathy Searle Ticket Agent
Joe Cipoletti Janitor
Louise Millmann Teacher
John Monteleone Janitor #2
Nicole Brending Frazzled Housewife
Mahadeo Shivraj Bellhop #1
Edward A. Hajj Bellhop #2
Frank Zanghini Hotel Concierge
Jeremy Rishe Desk Clerk
Judy Ross Nathalie
Jamel Rodriguez Mechanic
Victor Pagan Man on Street
Leroy Wilson Cop
Susan McBrien Woman
Antonio Ortiz Juan
Tasha Guevara Mother #1
Catrina Ganey Mother #2
Jessica Fernandez Young Woman
Nick Diamantis Young Guy
Cory Nichols Peggy's Son
Alicia Masten Peggy's Daughter
Paul Urcioli Peggy's Husband

Technical Credits
Eric Mendelsohn Director,Editor,Producer,Screenwriter
Bogdan George Apetri Co-producer
Fred Berner Executive Producer
David Briggs Sound/Sound Designer
Susan Carrano Costumes/Costume Designer
Rocco Caruso Producer
Quentin Chiappetta Sound/Sound Designer
Amy Durning Producer
Jack Falanga Art Director
Morgan Faust Editor
Jennifer Grausman Co-producer
Markus Kirschner Production Designer
Liz Manne Co-producer
Suzanne McCabe Costumes/Costume Designer
Jeffrey K. Miller Editor
Michael Nicholas Score Composer
Kasper Tuxen Cinematographer
Atilla Yucer Asst. Director,Co-producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- 3 Backyards
1. Maybe [7:06]
2. Obsession [6:32]
3. Lost [8:25]
4. Distance [7:02]
5. Waiting [8:10]
6. Curious [7:38]
7. Nosy [10:23]
8. Poor [9:12]
9. Involved [5:42]
10. Searching [4:27]
11. Connected [8:00]
12. Credits [5:17]


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3 Backyards 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
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