James White

James (Christopher Abbott), a directionless party boy in New York City, gets a wake-up call when his wealthy father dies and his mother (Cynthia Nixon), whom the father ditched years earlier for another woman, learns that her cancer is no longer in remission. Writer-director Josh Mond based this debut feature on his own experience with a terminally ill mother, and it’s a wrenching portrait of helpless devotion; James may be a self-pitying brat prone to making a scene and starting bar fights, but he becomes as noble caring for his mom as he seems ignoble the rest of the time. Abbott contributes a smart, soulful performance, but Nixon keeps threatening to walk away with the movie as the mother, who can’t get enough of life and whose physical decay is colored by rage, defiance, and terror. With Ron Livingston.