We tend to forget that our lives are shaped not only by our circumstances but by our environment. Even though we may be surrounded by a calm relaxing location, life, however, can be full of tragedy. The juxtaposition of these two complicated moods can create a serene learning experience, and that is exactly what is going on with Daniel Peddle’s new film Moss.
Moss is a film about life, and how it can be altered in unexpected ways if you are willing to open the door to adventure. Moss (Mitchell Slaggert) has just turned 18, and he decides to push back his responsibilities for a while to enjoy the day. This simple decision leads to an extraordinary encounter with a nomadic traveler named Mary (Christine Marzano). The day unfolds into unexpected growth.
The beauty of this film is that Peddle lets the film unfold the way it is supposed to it truly is as if the characters dictate the story. The subtly of this film would not work outside the indie world, and audiences are the better for it. There are no expectations as to what this movie is meant to be, it doesn’t have to be big and chaotic, and instead it is allowed to be delicate and bold.
The story takes a journey, but in the grand scheme of things the story doesn’t have a high-concept plot. Moss doesn’t need one, and because it’s allowed to grow naturally, the outcome is poetic. It doesn’t matter that there aren’t any big grand gestures, the audience is more invested in the world that is unfolding in front of us instead of a high-octane blockbuster.
The ease of the story could only be accomplished by the ease of the surroundings, which is then released through the characters. The southern bayou that serves as the location immediately sets the tone of the film. The calm waters yet dark undertows of the marsh is a beautiful compliment to the core of these characters.
There is something simmering just under the surface for both Moss and Mary. This may be the cause of the initial attraction between these two complicated souls, and they let that connect flourish into something unexpected. It’s not long before you believe their chance encounter might actually be the workings of fate. in their own way, they allow the other to release their invisible barrier holding them back from something. These two characters are fascinating to watch come together.
It’s not to say that the majority of the audience can connect with these characters and their backstories, because they are uniquely beautiful, but it also doesn’t matter because the openness they present to each other is something we all can learn from. They are willing to take chances with each other and within themselves.
Growth doesn’t happen when we resist change, and the willingness to do that these two leads express is not only something we should learn from. Through this candidness, it’s also shatters everything we thought we knew about perceptions we might have about people. Upon first meeting Moss, you think he’s another backwoods lazy teenager who is just coasting through life. For Mary, you think she’s a bad girl corrupting the youth she comes across as she travels. In both cases, you couldn’t be more wrong. Its felt with Moss more than Mary, but this is a shining example of how one should never judge a book by its cover. Within their simple lives lies a complexity of heartache and yearning that are times are hard to endure.
The way this film is able to play with stereotypes and first impressions is impressive. It's marketed as a coming of age story, and it sort of is for Moss, but it's so much more than that for the audience. Moss explores the variety of daily life. We have to be reminded from time to time that life is complicated, and there is always something more than to a person or situation then we are aware of. This film is a nice way to reopen our horizons for endless possibilities.
All the possible explorations that are presented in the film is captured within the beautiful visuals. The delicate love that both Peddle and the cinematographer Juri Beythien creates through these moving pictures accentuates the overall tone, allowing for the three major elements, story-character-look, to come together to create a sense of peace.
Moss is a complicated story of life and the endless possibility for adventure, but is presented in a subtle yet bold way that keeps the audience mesmerized. Peddle is a wonderful storyteller, creating a balanced world to tell a story that allows not only the characters to grow, but the audience as well.
Moss premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival.
Written by Lisa Mejia
Image provided by BIG TIME PR & MARKETING