If you are the parent of a high school Senior currently looking into potential colleges and universities, At Middleton, opening this Friday at the Pasadena Laemmle’s Playhouse 7, will tug at your heart.
The film, starring Andy Garcia (Ocean’s 11, City Island) and Vera Farmiga (A&E’s “Bates Motel”) is primarily a romantic comedy involving two adult strangers who meet on their children’s campus tour of the idyllic (and fictional) Middleton College. Acting more like kids than their own offspring, they ditch the tour to explore the campus on their own, and, in the process, are filled with memories of their own college years and with reflections about the decisions they made over time.
To add to the humor, George (Garcia) is a primped and proper heart surgeon who loves Middleton and hopes his son will attend it. His new friend, Edith (Farmiga), is a spirited woman that will break as many (harmless) rules as she can get away with, and whose daughter (played by Farmiga’s real-life sister, Taissa Farmiga) is much too serious for her age and for her good. As it is often the case in romantic comedies, one has what the other is missing and so they become perfect companions willing to delve into situations that fall anywhere between serious and silly.
This is also a family endeavor for Garcia, as his daughter, Daniella Garcia-Lorido, plays Daphne, a student at Middleton that works in the film room and that ends up having quite an interesting time with George and Edith.
The fictional Middleton College was created by nicely stitching together scenes that were filmed at real-life Gonzaga College in Spokane and at Washington State University in Pullman, both in Eastern Washington.
The music for the film was composed by jazz legend Arturo Sandoval, whom Garcia played in the HBO film The Arturo Sandoval Story and who has worked with Garcia on multiple projects. Music by this jazz master, who has been nominated for the Grammy 17 times, winning 8 of them, is in itself reason enough to watch this film.
At Middleton is a seemingly light film that sneaks up on you to force you to think about your kids, your life choices, and your future. Garcia is not as Cuban here as some of us prefer him, but he’s adorable nonetheless.
At Middleton opens at Pasadena Laemmle’s Playhouse 7 (673 East Colorado Blvd) this Friday. Times and ticket prices are at http://laemmle.com/theaters/6