In his striking and moving debut feature BLUEBIRD, writer/director Lance Edmands explores the interconnectedness of a small town in the northern reaches of Maine. When Lesley, the local school bus driver, (Tony nominee Amy Morton, AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY) becomes distracted during her end-of-day inspection, she fails to notice a sleeping boy in the back of the bus. What happens next shatters the tranquility of her small logging town, proving that even the slightest actions have enormous consequences.
Stricken by an overwhelming sense of guilt, Lesley‘s fragility is further tested by her husband (Emmy nominee John Slattery, “Mad Men“)-a local logger preoccupied by the imminent closing of the town paper mill-and the boy‘s mother Marla (Louisa Krause, KING KELLY), a disaffected young woman looking to take advantage of a delicate situation. Shot on location in the stark, frozen Maine hills, BLUEBIRD fosters a profound sense of place-chillingly capturing the setting's lonely yet beautiful tone-thanks to the masterwork of cinematographer Jody Lee Lipes (MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE). The film boasts a powerful supporting cast including Emily Meade (“Boardwalk Empire“), Emmy winner Margo Martindale (“Justified,“ MILLION DOLLAR BABY), and Adam Driver (“Girls“).
After finishing her usual route, school bus driver Lesley begins a final inspection. Distracted by the unusual appearance of a bluebird on a freezing January evening, she neglects to check the back of the bus. Concurrently, Marla heads straight to the bar after her shift. Caught up in self-loathing and looking for solace, she longs to forget her responsibilities. In the morning both women discover that their slight negligence has resulted in serious consequences, cracking the quiet of their small town. Family bonds begin to fray, and the community is shaken like a snow globe as it struggles to reconcile the past and present.
The interconnectivity of life is perfectly displayed in this first feature from writer/director Lance Edmands. His absorbing drama uncovers the many layers of life that link us in unexpected ways. Atmospheric cinematography establishes a lucid sense of space, filling the shadowy corners of the logging town with the prevailing cold. Edmands’s nuanced film portrays a world dictated by life’s cyclical nature, where our control is minimal and forgiveness is necessary. (Holly Voges, Tribeca Film Festival)