Have you ever wondered what would happen if you got hit by a car in New York City and broke an arm and a leg? Are there people in your life that would take care of you? Well, Liz Tuccillo, writer and director of Take Care has imagined that exact scenario. The charismatic Leslie Bibb stars in the film as Frannie, a single woman who happens to live in a four-story walkup in Manhattan. Yes, Frannie, with two broken limbs declines her sister Fallon’s (played by the amazing Nadia Dajani) offer to stay with her in suburban New Jersey. The opening scene is ten minutes of Fallon and Frannie’s best friend Laila (played by Marin Ireland) trying to get Frannie out of a cab and up four flights of stairs to her apartment. The psychical comedy expressed in this claustrophobic stairwell is remarkable. Frannie would rather knock on her neighbor’s door and ask for help than stay in her sister’s home.
Not only is Frannie physically wounded but she just received some emotional punches from her ex-boyfriend Devon (played by The Newsroom’s Thomas Sadoski) who just made a $6 million dollar deal with Yahoo! He broke up with Frannie after she spent two years taking care of him when he was going through a bout of cancer. As Frannie’s friends and family flake out more and more as she heals in her apartment alone, she calls Devon and demands that he take care of her. She does this despite not talking to him for years. After a few attempts Frannie finally gets her way and Devon agrees to take care of her even though he lives with his girlfriend Jodi, played by Betty Gilpin (of Nurse Jackie fame). Gilpin steals every scene she’s in. Jodi is an emotional wreck who admits her jealousy is something she needs to work on. She’s a big ball of crazy—complete with bugged-out eyes, bottom lip quivering and loud hysterics. At this point, Take Care becomes the rom-com it intended to be but keeps a realistic edginess more commercial films seem to lack.
Most of the movie is shot in Frannie’s apartment with Leslie Bibb completely bedridden. But Take Care never feels claustrophobic thanks to Bibb’s charismatic performance and Tuccillo’s direction. The only complaint I have is Tuccillo underusing Marin Ireland. I have a feeling there might be more than a few scenes with her on the cutting room floor and I would do almost anything for them to appear on the DVD release of the film.
Following the screening of Take Care at the Stateside Theatre in downtown Austin for South by Southwest (SXSW), writer-director Liz Tuccillo, Leslie Bibb and Thomas Sadoski did a Q&A to a full theater of filmgoers. Bibb looked stunning and charmed the entire audience. Tuccillo seemed very grateful and modest for the opportunity to work with such an amazing cast and be accepted into the narrative competition of the film festival.