A TIMELY EMERGENCE for COMING UP FOR AIR
Sept 6, 2021 – Some films appear at the just the right moment. Think 1969’s, “Easy Rider“, an iconic film that both beautifully, and tragically, highlighted the gap between the era of “Free Love” and political change and the reactionary violence of the “counter-counterculture”. Or, “The Breakfast Club“, John Hughes’ most vital contribution to 80’s Reagan-era teen angst films. It features familiar archetypal characters (the beauty, the brain, the jock, etc) who come to accept each others’ differences, and bond beyond the cliques that define them.
The multi-award-winning film “Coming Up for Air” (featuring four best picture and three best actress awards) may not have the worldwide name recognition of said classics, but that doesn’t make it any less notable. Over the past few years, particularly 2020, mental illness, addiction and suicide rates have risen exponentially. At the root of these alarming statistics lies the average man, fighting to behave “normal” in a world that has proven to be anything but. The film posits the questions, “Can you save your face and a** at the same time?” And more importantly, “How do we take care of ourselves and the people we love, without losing our center in the process?”
The leads are devoted single mom Anna (played by Deborah Staples) and Stan (Chase Yi), her college-aged son who is also a men’s Olympic diving hopeful. When the pressure of maintaining his impeccable grade average, making the team and having a social life prove overwhelming, Stan becomes withdrawn. As Anna’s concern for her son grows she tries to avoid being perceived as overbearing, while still showing up for him. When Stan disappears, Anna elicits help from friends, teachers, counselors and teammates and is able to bring her son back from the edge.