by Thelma Adams below, please scroll down.
best movies are always about character development
storytelling; Racing Daylight excels at both.
attractive, carefully crafted film keeps viewers
guessing, lifts their
spirits and transports them through time. David
Strathairn and Melissa
Leo deliver memorable performances. This audience-pleasing
stands-out and deserves wide distribution."
Thomas Baker, Ph.D., Coordinator, The
went to see your fabulous film last night ...
and was completely
blown away. Excellent work! Every element (cast,
editor, writer-director) everybody.. was completely
on-board in making
your moving, frightening, visually stunning film.
the phantoms of people who lived in the past are
haunting the landscape that we see now. The connections
made between the historical action and the present-day
poetic and not heavyhanded. The film was shot
Liegh Woods, Professor of Theatre &
Drama in the School of Music, Theatre, and
Dance at the University of Michigan
"...your film is one that can be watched
over and over. One can learn
from it each time..."
Robert Salz, VP Sales, Clos Du Val Winery
loved this film - there is just no other way to
say it. Told from the
perspectives of different characters and spanning
periods, it tells a love story that lasts through
the ages. But romance
is only the beginning. There is also intrigue,
incidents and ultimately the truth of a buried
family story. Racing
Daylight is beautiful and artfully told with amazing
and a wonderful soundtrack. It also helped that
watching it on the beach, so anytime water was
featured on screen,
there was a natural soundtrack of waves gently
crashing only 20 feet away."
A review from 'the Casual Critic', a
"I watched Racing Daylight last night and
I found it intensely moving,
quite beautiful. The story was haunting and it
Melissa was superb, as was everyone... congratulations
on a lovely film."
Caroline Sinclair, Casting Director
" When they are viewed in their entirety
(the 3 short films that make up
'Racing Daylight'), they become pieces of an intricate
uncovering a story of lost love and attempts to
regain it in another
lifetime. Without announcing from the beginning
it is a mystery,
the film becomes one, gradually fitting together
the clues and
culminating in a moment of resolution and redemption.
It is a moving
experience, a mix of pathos and humor, just as
life has always been
through the ages."
Deborah Buckner, AnE Vibe, Kansas City,
Kansas 4 Stars
adroit storyteller ... modulated, finely tuned
from about the best assembly of screen actors
-- and I do
mean actors -- I have seen this side of the Atlantic.
Dunbar Ogden, Professor Emeritus Of Dramatic
the University of California, Berkeley.
Author of: "Performance Dynamics and
the Amsterdam Werkteater"
(University of California Press, Berkeley)
and the upcoming:
"My Father Said Yes, A White Pastor in
Little Rock School Integration",
foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Vanderbilt
"...I watched your wonderful film -- I want
to know that I enjoyed the film - and that it
stayed with me. I
thought the acting was terrific ... and I loved
the way the stories interwove."
Meg Lefauve, 1-Eyed Dog Productions
encourage you to see this ... I've seen this accomplished,
wry, supernatural film -- twice -- and am a big
believer in both the film
and the people involved."
Adams, Film & DVD Critic
enjoyed seeing your lovely, lovely, amazingly
Neal Huff, actor
a wonderful, charming film you've created! I loved
it! The characters,
the plot, music, detail, costumes, pacing, acting,
Reidelbach, artist, author,
creator of the Guinness Book's World's
Tallest Garden Gnome, Kelder Farm, Accord, NY
"I really enjoyed the writing, interaction
between past & present,
performances, sense of humor and beautiful spirit
of the film..."
was doubly thrilled and amazed to see Racing Daylight
on the big screen
last night. the small screen had not done it justice
and I am so glad I was
able to attend. The audience loved it, and I caught
so many more moments,
especially the comic ones with the warmth of their
this is one you must see more than once!"
Shaine (formerly Cunningham)
it was such a great movie!
We all loved it.
I loved the story and great actors."
Mami Osaki, artist
watched your beautiful film two nights ago and
I've been thinking about it
ever since. Its haunting images play on my mind.
I was moved by your
examination of the complexity that lies behind
apparently simple people...
the shy woman that strikes us as a weird loner
is really a passionate,
complicated, slightly mad heroine. I loved, as
well, your politically
incorrect embrace of madness/passion as a liberating
force. None of the
characters are chastised (from the film's pov)
for being immoderate.
rules and gives life. Gorgeous and brave.
Melissa and David are, of
Perfectly modulated, precise performances.
And Jason Downs holds his own with these two stars.
He's so solid (and sexy)."
Nyswaner, Oscar Nominated Screenwriter
(The Painted Veil, Philadelphia)
described "RACING DAYLIGHT" as "a
bit of an odd film," and she's
right. But it's "odd" in a quirky, enjoyable
way. ... both actors
(Strathairn and Leo) are captivating as almost
alternate versions of
themselves. Sadie tries to figure out the mysteries
of her past and Henry,
the mysteries of his present."
Gerald Lussier, Times Herald-Record (May
Racing Daylight is a lyrical but off-kilter Southern
spanning two centuries and exploring the difficult
task of finding love,
honor, and redemption during the Civil War. ...
The impressive cast headed
by Strathairn includes Ulster County residents
Melissa Leo (The Three
Burials of Melquiades Estrada, 21 Grams) and Denny
Dillon (Saturday Night
Live, Dream On), and veteran stage and screen
actor Giancarlo Esposito
(Bob Roberts, Do the Right Thing). Boasting hypnotic
cinematography and the
scrappy spirit of an independent film, Racing
Daylight also features Jason
Downs, Leclanche Durand, and a haunted antique
Blotcher, Screen Scene (April 30, 2007)
glad I finally got a chance to see your film -
wow! I was completely
captivated by the story and the acting. I'm glad
that we could be of some
help to such a great film."
Folsom, WOMEN IN FILM FOUNDATION
love love loved it. So unique. Very special. The
wonderful. Melissa Leo was outstanding as always
and David Strathairn was a
joy. I love movies that are puzzles ..."
Debbie Zipp, COO In The Trenches Productions
so beautiful, like a poem. I love the separate
points of view of the
story; the acting; the soft and deep temperament
of it; the music; the
visuals; and of course, the writing. Congratulations."
Blaustein, Founder, Woodstock Film Festival
have a beautiful unique movie with stellar performances
stars... and you've made some new stars!"
Shaine Cunningham, Author
(Sleeping Arrangements, A Place in the Country,
movie took us on a ride - wondering where we were
going - different
lives & times - & a great ending - David
& Melissa are so good."
Ford, retired, Siesta Key, Florida
script is luscious: an edgy character study, a
romance and a ghost story all in one."
Nyswaner, Oscar Nominated Screenwriter
(The Painted Veil, Philadelphia)
excellent job. Racing Daylight is a real puzzle,
it keeps you
going. Your heart goes out to Sadie, and Henry
Sklar, Oscar-nominated co-screenwriter "JFK"
Emily Bennison, Program Director, Childrens'
think RACING DAYLIGHT definitely has a future
with college audiences: it
is smart, and tells stories in a thought provoking
Rachel Lee, Vassar College student
a nice movie, nobody got raped, one little swear
word, an interesting
story, what a nice movie."
Bill Davenport, retired entreprenuer
"It's beautiful, funny, and amazing."
Andrea Weaver, David Strathairn Online
Anita Jones, Administrator, Poughkeepsie
essay by Thelma Adams,
Weekly film critic and New York Film Critics Circle
my six-year-old displayed dramatic tendencies,
the actress Melissa Leo
invited us to visit her on the set of Racing Daylight,
The movie's title
came to reflect my feelings on mothering: my daughter
glows; I chase. And
on that rare July afternoon, on a Catskills film
set, I realized the limits
of our time together. Elizabeth won't be this
golden-haired girl riding
shotgun in my life for long; this child will break
out into the world and
burn, baby, burn. And so I race.
lunchtime, we approached the Big Blue Barn in
Accord, our mom-mobile
joining the aging sedans and trucks that packed
the steep gravel drive. On
the lawn, a folksy four-man band with an antebellum
amid black snaky cables On the patio, actors in
period dress ate pasta
salads, their laughter loud and thespian, unequal
to their mild jokes and
emerged from a sliding glass door. The slender
as Benicio Del Toro's blowsy wife in 21 Grams
skipped out to greet us in
earth shoes and a cotton print skirt, welcoming
Elizabeth like a VIP. When
she introduced her to the producer, Elizabeth
asked, with great seriousness:
"Who's the second producer?" She's in
who's the star?" Elizabeth asked. Melissa
laughed and said slyly,
"Me!" as if it was a joke she and Elizabeth
sprung on the adults.
led us to Director Nicole Quinn, who shared a
step with her husband.
Nico, a fifty-plus African American, welcomed
us on the set, eyes tired but
happy, elbows on knees. She began apologizing
for not vacuuming (it's
actually her converted barn-home we're in), when
a gangly assistant editor
climbed past her on the stairs. She asked him
if he ate, with a mother's
concern, then dispatched him back downstairs for
a rapt audience, Lizzy plunged in to pitching
her movie. She will
direct, she told Nicole, also produce and star.
I, apparently, will write
the screenplay. Then Elizabeth threaded her way
down the hall, stopping to
ask the production designer, the hair lady (who's
stopped to ooh and aah
over Elizabeth's Goldilocks ringlets), and Melissa,
if they will work on her
cast Melissa as her supporting actress, Elizabeth,
who will also
star, settled on the living room couch amid the
wigs and the straw hats and
a misplaced hammer and Giancarlo Esposito, whose
scenes had wrapped for the
day. Having never seen Esposito on Disney or Nick,
Elizabeth ignored him;
earnestly discussing with the producer whether
her production should use
real cats, which are hard to wrangle, or stuffed
cats, or children dressed
as cats. Apparently cats figure large in the movie.
lunch, we went outside in the sticky heat. Elizabeth
sat on a stump
near the action, rapt, heavily doused with bug
spray, and watched as, time
after time, handsome Jason Downs solemnly approached
a slightly flirtatious
Sabrina Lloyd with her hair pulled back in a snood.
They repeated the scene
five, six times, Nicole pleasant and patient and
encouraging; the snippy
young sound man with shaved head and tats dissatisfied
with the sound
quality. He was the only drama queen on the set,
except for a bee buzzing
in the brush.
set-up, The Camptown Shakers played for the Victorian
scene. Despite the oppressive heat, banjo music
and magic filled in the
air. Nicole set the mood; she had the mellow attentiveness
to detail of
someone who's wrangled two children through infancy,
to successful high school careers and a bit beyond.
She's a heaven-sent
role model, no devil boss in Prada!
any one?" Melissa asked between takes, channeling
production assistant. She had a belly ring, and
little five-pointed stars
tattooed at various points on her body her
ankle, hip, shoulder a
constellation, she said. Then she laughed embarrassedly:
she didn't want to
be a bad influence on Elizabeth, who yearned to
be Melissa right then.
the heat rose, along with the mosquitoes, Elizabeth
started to sag. We
began to say our goodbyes then, as we crossed
the lawn to our car, Nicole
dispatched the Assistant Director. The stocky
twentysomething with a Home
Depot solidity asked Elizabeth if she wanted to
be an extra. Suddenly, she
had energy to burn!
wardrobe lady whisked my daughter to the spare
bedroom. She returned
transformed to 19th century girliness in a calico
pinafore and straw boater.
Wild ringlets tumbled across the shoulders of
her long-sleeved blouse. She
was barefoot her feet too small for any
stock shoes but it went with the
summery feel of the lemonade day. She was ecstatic
in that great game of
went to the front lawn. Nicole and her cameraman
were setting the
shot for a card game beneath a shady oak, where
character actress Le Clanche
Du Rand gossiped with the preacher and two others
while playing bridge The
sound man grumbled: the trees whispered.
the extras and crew kvelled, and the actors ignored
her, the assistant
director led Elizabeth to her mark beyond the
action. It was a lonely spot
in the high grass where she waited until he lowered
his hand. The plan was
that after the actors began their dialog, she
would run behind them, up the
hill out of the frame, then circle around to the
steps leading down to the
camera placement. She would wait there silently
for the A.D.'s signal to
return to her mark.
and I positioned ourselves on a stone bench where
we couldn¹t see
the card players but had a perfect view of our
star. Elizabeth, focused,
paying strict attention to the A.D., ignored us.
On her first try, her straw
boater flew from her head, and she stumbled over
the long skirt's ruffle.
But she didn¹t stop or fuss, just gathered
the skirt with one hand, picked
up the hat with the other, placed it on her head
where she held it securely
and continued her uphill frolic.
gasped together when the hat flew, Melissa and
I laughed to see how
Elizabeth completely recovered, without a murmured
darn, or a wasted motion.
We covered our mouths to keep silent, wiped away
tears, in awe of our girl
and the day's assymetrical, unexpected enchantment.
When Elizabeth came
around to the stone steps, Melissa and I give
her the thumbs-up. She smiled
proudly, but swiftly, looking toward her A.D.
to escort her back to her mark
for the next take.
was an instant pro and Melissa couldn't
help seeing herself in
my daughter: the glow, the total concentration,
the giddy feeling that when
she was acting for a camera at the center of all
that activity she was truly
alive. And when Melissa returned at day¹s
end to her quiet house, and the
bills, and the what-next of it all, the magic
evaporated. Maybe that was
why she lingered, dispensing coffee and joy, twirling
in her cotton skirt,
with her tattoo constellation.
watched as Elizabeth prepared for each shot: grabbing
anchoring her hat. She stared at the stocky young
man with unflagging
concentration, ignoring Melissa and me. And then,
the A.D. lowered his hand
again, six more times. Each time, Elizabeth ran,
all golden ringlets like
summer sun, pinafore and pink legs and bare feet
beneath the indigo ruffle,
her straw hat a kite caught in a sapling.
for Elizabeth, this was the beginning of a glorious
career. Or maybe
it was just the July day Mom made the magic happen.
It doesn't matter what
she wants to be when she grows up: vet, teacher,
film critic, superstar.
It's important to just be in the moment. She is
the diva; I am her
entourage. Let her lick the insides out of life's
Oreo for the moment; it¹s
one gift I can give her while I'm still picking
up the check.
Adams is the Us Weekly film critic and a New York
Film Critics Circle