Judy Wagner, Allen Wagner, Emily Wagner, Maggie Wagner, Judy Dixon, Billy Wirth
As filmmaking technology has shifted, it has become easier to expand the boundaries of storytelling, as Andrew Wagner skillfully illustrates in THE TALENT GIVEN US.
Crossword puzzles, supermarket runs... Judy and Allen fill in the small moments in their commonplace marriage as best they can. When they run into two former teachers of their son Andrew, they learn of a job opportunity for him. Unfortunately, Andrew is distant in location and in family relations. Suddenly realizing she must embark on a quest to repair that, Judy takes Allen on a cross-country trip to see Andrew and work things out. After they rope in their two unmarried daughters, the family is forced to come together, for better or worse.
With innovations in low-cost, highly portable video equipment, filmmakers like Wagner can make a more delicate story that champions the nuances of acting, concentrating on plot over flashy technology. The characters he follows are unusual and multifaceted, essentially blurring the lines between documentary and fiction. THE TALENT GIVEN US reaches a higher level of storytelling by the care taken to create it.