Film Reviews

RID OF ME

By • Dec 15th, 2011 •

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A quintessential comedy of (bad) manners.

You’ll want to see this more than once–just as I did, confirming my initial reaction that James Westby’s indie is, without doubt, a FIND — and one of the most entertaining films of the year.

No, don’t expect any vampires in this far-from-bleak black comedy –though its star (an excellent Katie O’Grady) could pass for one. (You could swear she was the twin sister of Noomi Rapace’s Lisabeth Salander in THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO.) Rather, the plot concerns the misery of a rejected wife, and her trials and triumphs as she follows her own yellow brick road to happiness.

Plot: After his computer business fails, hunky hubby Mitch (John Keyser) and sweet ‘n simple bride Meris (O’Grady) relocate to his old Oregon hometown, where he reunes with his childhood chums and their wives (AKA the cronies from hell). Sure, they welcome him with open arms, but purposely snub and sneer at her every attempt to become part of their in-crowd. (If looks could kill, they’d all get the chair.)

From the get-go, Mitch doesn’t offer her any support. And matters only get worse when his old flame, beauteous buxom blonde Briann (Storm Large) unexpectedly turns up with outstretched claws to rope him in. Obviously, she gets her sense of immorality from her mother, played by Theresa Russell (BLACK WIDOW), the only A-lister in the cast.

In this world riddled by self-absorbed snobs whose conversation is littered with the maudlin and mundane, everyone wants to get rid of her. So what’s a girl to do? Here, Meris does the unexpected, successfully emerging with a new sense of self-esteem–as she blissfully mutates from a plain Jane clerk at a local candy store by day, to a punk rocker at night with a shocking, radical new look.

And it all seems so real. The outstanding cutting-edge performances by relative unknowns serve to highlight the impact of the superior filmmaking, courtesy of the masterful script, editing/cutting by Portland-based writer-director Westby.

The bad news: with its low marketing budget, it might not get the exposure it so definitely merits. (I.e. it’s opening in NYC in just one small downtown movie theater – Cinema Village.)
The good news: In just 89 minutes, a miniscule $50,000 budget, and only a 20-day shooting schedule (plus 3 months on the edit) , Westby, cast and crew have managed to create a film that far surpasses most of the pedestrian megabuck entries flooding local cinemas.

Bottom Line: “Rid of Me” is a keeper. Not to be missed.


Trivia: The opening sequence where you first see Meris in her punk-rocker guise is a shocker (which I won’t reveal). You’re prepared to dislike her. Wrong. As the film unreels, you’ll readily draw her close to your heart.

At the screening’s Q&A, Katie O’Grady said she “lobbied to keep it in = and that’s the joy of experimental filmmaking.”

An interesting aside: in person, she’s an unbelievably gorgeous blonde.


When Westby was asked where he came up with the idea for the plot, he said “It started with the old high school friends of my ex-wife.”

Apropos, he also recommended accessing the website: hegotridofme.com (Try it. You’ll like it.)

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