Small, Beautifully Moving Parts | Movie review
A freelance technologist can’t connect.
“Freelance technologist” Sarah Sparks (Anna Margaret Hollyman) prefers the company of gadgets to people. Technology is easily fixed; damaged relationships, not so much. So when Sarah finds out she’s pregnant—after first admiring the quality of the font on her disposable pregnancy test—she sets out on a road trip in search of her estranged and intensely technophobic mother, who lives off the grid somewhere in Arizona. She doesn’t know what she’ll say if she finds her, but she hopes it will help quell her ambivalence about motherhood.
Small, Beautifully Moving Parts, directed by film-school classmates turned film-school professors Annie Howell and Lisa Robinson, is a low-key look at the pleasures and perils of technologically enhanced communication. Cell phones and webcams keep Sarah connected to her boyfriend back home, but they do little to strengthen the weak emotional ties within her family. She has more-meaningful conversations with strangers she meets on the road (in scenes that slip nimbly between fiction and documentary-style man-on-the-street interviews) and even her chatty rental-car GPS than with her own blood relatives. Written with wit, shot with handsome casualness on a consumer-grade Canon and anchored by a charmingly understated performance from Hollyman, the film is true to its title: small, beautiful and moving.