Plot: Left with an aching instinctual itch to explore America after a traumatic loss, a curious teenager named Mercer suddenly steals a car in Oregon and develops a life-altering telephonic connection with the forgiving and mysterious girl he took it from. As he sets out with her phone calls as guidance, Mercer's motives find focus as he travels across the postmodern highways of the former Wild West to seek self-knowledge and a sense of belonging.
Played with truth and nuance by Lou Taylor Pucci, young Mercer follows the clues and confronts struggles, both good and bad, on his spiritual journey toward manhood and an end to his grief. Supporting him in a range of unlikely relationships and chance encounters is an eloquent set of performances that include Zooey Deschanel as the car's owner, Jena Malone as a precocious distraction in Reno, and Maura Tierney as his brother's old flame.
Byron Shah's dreamlike cinematography and M. Ward's original soundtrack add to this "mix tape" of emotional discoveries. Perhaps most impressive is the way writer/director Martin Hynes vividly and creatively steers the viewer on this cinematic ride, where there are some roads still worth driving down.
--© Sundance Film Festival
More Plot Descriptions
Discussion forum for this movie