By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J.
“Pearl” is the tale of a man who has lost his will to live and a girl who has suffered severe trauma regaining their lives with each other’s help. It’s a different type of father-daughter love story.
Jack Wolf (Anthony LaPaglia) has never married. He’s both brilliant and difficult and has had the artistic career to prove it; making wonderful work and alternately alienating the very people who could have provided a path from rags to riches.
He’s had only one great love in his life, a remarkable woman named Helen Rosen (Sarah Carter) who while loving him back, could not bring herself to marry him. She left him 14 years ago. Unbeknownst to Jack, Helen was pregnant with their child and made the decision to bring up their daughter alone. The girl was Pearl (Larsen Thompson, in her feature lead debut), and her mother was able to give her everything a girl could want, save for a father. Helen never married, but for the last several years she’s been living with Anthony (Nestor Carbonell), the scion of a wealthy cosmetics family in a Beverly Hills mansion.
At the onset of our story, Pearl is with her mother touring Winston School, the premiere all-girls high school in Southern California. We learn that she is an excellent student and has powerful dreams of a business career complimented by her love of music.
Later tragedy strikes and Pearl is left without her mother, and her upper-class friend’s family is against her living with them. And her grandmother is really too busy nursing the bottle to be of any use.
This leads her to discover that Anthony is her father, and they set off on a journey of reconciliation and familiarity together. Jack is in a vulnerable state, himself, and they both learn that they are better together than apart.
At Jack’s home, Pearl’s status and quality of life has been knocked down a few pegs, and she has to now attend public school. She has many challenges, but after a bit of trusting, humiliating situations and the knowledge that Jack is really on her side, Pearl sees the light at the end of the tunnel. “Pearl” is a coming-of-age story that not only sees the teenager growing but her father, as well. Together they manage to find a rapprochement that enables them to save themselves and, ultimately, to find love.
Anthony LaPaglia as Jack is great in this role. I have admired his work in other projects. He’s a bit mellow but guarded and appears to be at his wits end. He’s longing, through flashbacks, for the love that started out in the lovely city of Paris, ending up in Los Angeles, but it could never quite take flight. Pearl, played by Larsen Thompson, is good in her first major role. She’s smart, snippy and sassy but realizes that she needs to adjust her attitude if she is to prevail. “Pearl” is available on digital and on demand platforms now through Quiver Distribution.
Take a look at the trailer: https://www.facebook.com/Pearlthefilm/videos/3349137878470776/.