Sarah Paulson and Chris Messina in “Fairhaven”

Sarah Paulson and Chris Messina in “Fairhaven” Credit: Sarah Paulson and Chris Messina in “Fairhaven”

3 stars
Directed by Tom O'Brien
Starring Chris Messina, Tom O'Brien, Rich Sommer
Not Rated

With its frozen waterways, snow-covered terrains and working class homes and bars, wintertime New England rivals any region of the country in terms of sheer, vivid cinematic qualities.

This is a place where old hurts linger, where some natives dream of escape while others build the sorts of lives for themselves that they always figured to have.
The setting looms over "Fairhaven," a drama about three 30-something friends reuniting in the titular Massachusetts city before a funeral.

It shapes the quiet tensions eating at protagonist Jon (Tom O'Brien, also the film's writer and director), who wants more out of life than a stint on a fishing boat.

Dave (Chris Messina), who drinks and sleeps around, left a tortured past in the Bay State when he escaped across the country. Sam (Rich Sommer) is a lonely, divorced father.

O'Brien smartly stresses realistic, submerged feelings instead of overwrought dramatics in his low-key portrait of friendship and all its complications.

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