Twin Cities (2017) – By Philip Smolen


Emily (Bethany Ford) and John (Clarence Wethern) are a young married couple who live in Minnesota and are expecting their first child. John is a scientist who is working on the human genome, while Emily is a successful novelist. From all outward appearances, their lives are wonderful. But all is not what is appears to be. John suffers from panic attacks and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and has repeatedly tried to commit suicide. Emily has been told by her publisher that unless she trims down her latest novel to a readable length, she will have to return her $50,000 advance. On top of all this pressure, John and Emily have stopped communicating with each other. They barely talk and pass just like ships in the night. Then one day John gets a call from his physician who has devastating news. John has advanced colo-rectal cancer and probably only has a few months to live.

“Twin Cities” is a new indie film from Minnesota filmmaker David Ash and it is a revelation. Initially, it seems to be about the trite problems of an upwardly mobile couple who don’t care about each other anymore. But Ash has made a film of such depth and quality that it begs to be watched over and over again. The film works on several different levels and features an “Oh My God” moment halfway through the film that is positively electrifying.

Ash has created main characters of such intensity and nuance that you are immediately drawn into their world. John is lost and hopeless and intent on killing himself until he receives his doctor’s diagnosis. His death sentence is a liberating experience and frees John of all of his demons. He immediately goes about setting his world right and making peace with everyone, especially Emily. He becomes the husband, son, friend and colleague that he always wanted to be. Emily is galvanized by John’s diagnosis, and as a result, rededicates her life to her marriage, her work and herself.

The film is full of outstanding performances. Bethany Ford is completely mesmerizing as Emily. She exudes such intensity, power and control that you can’t take your eyes off of her when she is onscreen. I have rarely seen such a commanding performance in an indie film. Clarence Wethern matches Ford with his performance as John. He captures John’s internal turmoil perfectly and his subtle tics and shadings add a level of complexity to his performance. Both should be nominated for awards at film festivals.

“Twin Cities” is wonderful cinematic indie achievement. It is full of complex yet very human characters and it features a terrific plot twist that will surely surprise many viewers. David Ash has made a great multifaceted movie about love and loss. It is filled with warmth, wit and real emotion and is a wonderfully creative cinematic experience.

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“Twin Cities” will have it’s world premiere on June 11th at the Film Invasion Los Angeles . For more information on this, please go to: