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Cinequest Review: ‘Luba’

In Culture
NOT QUITE: 'Luba' is predictable and unsatisfying.

NOT QUITE: 'Luba' is predictable and unsatisfying.

Luba is a poorly paced dramatic thriller that aims to remind us that parents are humans too.

Nicole Maroon gives a great performance as the title character—a single mother struggling to make ends meet. Without any savings or higher education, she is forced to move between odd jobs while trying to co-parent with her addict husband, Donnie, portrayed by the film’s writer and producer, Vladimir Jon Cubrt.

The film’s pacing is sporadic, making it hard to follow each character’s development throughout the story—especially for Luba. Sure, we see her financial strife and complicated relationship with Donnie, but we aren’t given a singular conflict that we can see her overcome. And while we know she only wants what’s best for her son, Matty, she isn’t given much more for us to empathize with.

The same can be said of Donnie. As a relapsed addict who is unable to put his family ahead of his substance abuse, the audience is supposed to view him as the film’s antagonist. But we aren’t given enough time with him to humanize him or understand his true motivations. This leads to a weak climax that feels unsatisfying and predictable.

It’s only from the point of view of Matty—an impressionable young boy in a heartbreaking situation—that we can begin to empathize with the adults. He is tired of the lies told by his parents, but the audience understands the illusion Luba and Donnie need to maintain in order to protect their son. Luba shows us that, in the end, parents are just kids trying to figure it all out.

Mon, Mar 5, 9:15pm, HAM | THU, Mar 8, 4:50pm, RWC 10 | Fri, Mar 9, 7:15pm, RWC 10

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