Scrap | Film Threat
Mar 5, 2023
Writer-director Vivian Kerr’s feature film, Scrap, is the story of brothers and sisters and the bonds built in intense situations. Beth (Vivian Kerr) is a single mother living in her car after being laid off from her longtime white-collar job. While trying to get back on that corporate ladder, she tells her successful author brother, Ben (Anthony Rapp), that she’s on an extended business trip, hoping he’ll keep watching Beth’s daughter, Birdy (Julianna Layne), in the meantime.
Unfortunately, watching Beth’s kid is the last thing Ben’s wife, Stacy (Lana Parrilla), wants to do as she’s going through rigorous IVF treatments while maintaining her career. As you’d imagine, Beth’s plan can only sustain itself for so long. So how do you keep your daily routine living in a car and present your best self in job interviews? Hell, how do you catch a break when none can be found?
Then there are the dwindling finances as Beth tries to keep up with Birdy’s tuition payments with no job. Soon, Beth is forced to confront Ben and Stacy to ask them to watch Birdy, followed by some lie as an excuse. This makes Ben and Stacy begin to wonder what’s really going on. Stacy is unhappy that Beth is forgetting to pick up Birdy from school and missing important recitals. How long can this charade keep going on?
“Beth is a single mother living out her car after being laid off from her longtime white-collar job…”
Scrap is a character-driven drama addressing middle-class homelessness and infertility issues, but the heart is the close bond between siblings. These two issues are very real today, and though they don’t necessarily pair together like a fine meal, they provide the right tension, proving a solid backbone for Kerr’s story. As much as Ben, Beth, and Stacy have their own arcs, their relationship has one as well, leading to a beautiful heartfelt tale of family.
As a parent, my best advice for children is to tell the truth. It’s better to be upfront and deal with the problem now. Then again, this doesn’t make for great storytelling. Writer/director/star Kerr does her due diligence and honestly explores the implications of Beth’s homelessness. The filmmaker goes right into the practicality of car living. It’s not all glamour and definitely not a convenient solution. But it’s not being homeless that’s the issue. Kerr explores Beth’s sense of pride and her guilt for the burden she’s placed on her brother and sister-in-law.
Rapp is fantastic as the nerdy brother who had to grow up fast raising Beth on his own. You feel for him as he’s caught between his sister’s shenanigans, acting as a proxy parent to Birdy, and supporting his wife’s career while also trying to have a child through IVF. The actor pulls it off with aplomb.
Scrap is a light but authentic drama. Kerr explores the complex relationship between Beth and Ben in a fun and meaningful way. The film deserves a lot of credit for being as good as it is from its cast’s fantastic performances and its cinematic production values. However, it’s Kerr’s story that truly shines, and the drama should easily find a home in our hearts, as well as various streaming platforms.
Scrap screened at the 2023 Cinquest/Cinejoy Film Festival.
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