The Vanishing of Sidney Hall (2017)


The Vanishing of Sidney Hall is a 2017 American mystery  drama film directed by Shawn Christensen and starring Logan Lerman, Elle Fanning, Michelle Monaghan, Nathan Lane and Kyle Chandler.

The film I sent about Sidney Hall (Lerman), a young novelist whose life is portrayed in a non linear narrative, through ambiguous flashbacks and flash forwards through several parts of his life.

Logan is fantastic in the role of Sidney Hall. He portrays all three periods of his life in this film perfectly. From reading a story he wrote about masturbation to his senior English clash and being excused and encouraged to continue writing, to meeting Melody, the girl across the street and falling in love, to marrying Melody and having a baby, to becoming an alcoholic at twenty-four, this role was tailor made for Lerman. He made his character realistic in every way.

Elle Fanning is great as Melody Jameson, Sidney’s girlfriend and later wife. She portrays the tomboy meets vintage lover quiet well. I didn’t think Elle was going to be as good as her sister Dakota Fanning, but I was pleasantly surprised at how good she was. Melody starts out shy and putting love letters in Sidney’s mailbox, until they meet, date, fall in love and marry. I believe talent runs in the Fanning Family, because Elle was perfect for this role.

Michelle Monaghan is also great as Sidney’s abusive mother Velouria. The character becomes abusive to both Sidney and his disabled father Gerald, who she is tired of taking care of. She finds a letter from Melody and his diary and is furious after reading them, so she decides to burn them in his fireplace, along with a tape from the bully Brett of his father, that she deems sexually offensive. Monaghan was a superb choice for this role. Everything about this character, she portrayed spot on. She was very believable and you don’t really like her and that is how it was supposed to be.

Nathan Lane does a great job as Sidney’s literary agent Harold, although he’s not a big character. Kyle Chandler does a fine job as The Searcher and writer Francis Bishop, who traces down a homeless thirty year old Sidney and his dog, wishing to write a biography about him. Chandler’s role isn’t a big role either, but I felt he did a finer job than Lane.

This film is filled with literature, violence, tragedy and powerlessness and only a little love. It shows the struggles people a person can go through to achieve success and/or their dreams. No this not a very happy film for the most part. It starts out happy, but goes downhill, but it is depicted so well. A truly tragic story, that might make a viewer depressed, this really needed more happiness. The film felt a bit cold and dark at times. I haven’t seen such a depressing movie like this one in a long time and yes, I did like, not love it.

This gloomy film is in desperate need of sunshine, happiness and more love. Barely a heartwarming film, it made me very depressed after watching it. I felt like the director and main character really needed Prozac and therapy. I love all the actors and actresses in this, but I’ve seen them all in better, happier films. 18+ 3/5


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