Jessica Alba’s AN INVISIBLE SIGNApril 27, 2011
On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of movies on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: Jessica Alba's AN INVISIBLE SIGN (IFC Films).
Jessica Alba's AN INVISIBLE SIGN
By Amy Slotnick
Based on the novel by Aimee Bender, AN INVISIBLE SIGN is about a socially deficient girl who finds comfort in the safety of math and numbers.
Mona Gray, played by Jessica Alba, grows up to be an inhibited, awkward and lonely adult who rarely leaves the house. When she is forced to get a job, she becomes a first grade math teacher, lying about the degree she has in order to be hired. Even many of her first grade students think she is a weirdo, she is able to make math fun and engaging for her class.
Chris Messina plays a science teacher at the school who is intrigued by Mona and for an unexplained reason, pursues her romantically. Mona’s response to this attractive man showing her attention is to run and avoid him at all cost.
When she is fired from the job for bringing an ax to her classroom (because to her it looked like the number 7), losing control of her students and for lying about her degree, she returns to her inhibited state. Ultimately she is rescued from her self-inflicted incarceration when she allows herself to love the science teacher and adopt a needy student.
Although the set up is interesting, and the message that math can be exciting when presented by a creative teacher is important, there are many bizarre subplots in this film – including a strange obsession with her grade school math teacher (played by J.K. Simmons), severe anxiety about her father’s mental state, an unbelievable romance and adoption of her student whose mother dies.
All this is executed with a tone that is sometimes quirky and comedic and other times incredibly serious and depressing. Alba does a good job showing Mona’s progression but the material and direction are too uneven and the script too bizarre to make it worth watching. The real surprise is that this film attracted such a high caliber of actors.
Amy Slotnick is a contributor to On Demand Weekly. She works as an independent producer and freelance consultant to film financing start-ups. Previously she was a Senior VP of Production at Miramax Films.
AN INVISIBLE SIGN (IFC Films) can be found under your cable system's On Demand section.
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