Who We Are Now

A woman (Julianne Nicholson) released from prison after serving ten years for manslaughter and the young lawyer (Emma Roberts) representing her in a custody battle for her son are the protagonists of this astonishing drama from writer-director Matthew Newton, asking who deserves redemption and who should decide. The narrative runs on two tracks that eventually collide. In the more interesting of them, the hardened ex-convict fights to convince others—especially her sister and brother-in-law, the child’s legal guardians—that she deserves a second chance; meanwhile the lawyer balances the pressures of her pro-bono firm against the demands of her wealthy, vacuous mother (Lea Thompson). Though similar in plot to the 2006 indie Sherrybaby, this Brooklyn-set drama owes more in tone and style to the searing character studies of John Cassavetes. With memorable supporting performances from Zachary Quinto, Jimmy Smits, and Jason Biggs.