Before You Know It
by director/actor/co-writer Hannah Pearl Utt
In Before You Know It, thirty-year-old Rachel Gurner still lives at home trying to launch her seventy-year-old father’s playwriting career. Her older sister, Jackie, also still lives at home along with her thirteen-year-old daughter, “working” as an actor in her father’s plays. You can imagine the years of repression and denial that brought the Gurners to this stunted existence.
When the sisters’ precariously balanced life is thrown off the rails by a revelation that pulls them into a literal soap opera, they go on auto-pilot—setting themselves to fit this outrageous turn of invents into a reality they recognize. Rather than dealing openly and honestly with the gaping wound left by a long-kept family secret, Rachel and Jackie revert to old patterns and a broken dynamic to cope.
But isn't that what so many of us do?
Isn’t the compulsion to act out of habit or fear at the center of every unhealthy relationship any of us have ever hopelessly committed ourselves to? Isn’t that the glue that binds (dysfunctional) family?
And yet, it would be remiss of me not to also acknowledge the role of love in codependent dynamics (at least the ones in which I’ve participated) and flawed as our characters may be, they do love each other. So, with that in mind, me and my collaborators decided to tell this story with an eye toward a more communicative and healthy future for the Gurners.
My hope for you, viewer, is that you leave this movie feeling optimistic about the complicated relationships in your own life, and less alone in your journey to understand them. Thank you for watching!