THE SWEARING JAR: 3 ½ STARS. “a story of perseverance and an emotional reckoning.”
“The Swearing Jar,” a new drama now playing in theatres, is a relationship story about finding the love of your life, not once but twice.
Adelaide Clemens and Patrick J. Adams are married high school music teacher and novelist Carey and Simon. They’re happily married, but change is in the air. When Carey announces she is expecting a baby, their first order of business is to curb the cuss words that so easily flow out of their mouths. “Holy frickin’ poop,” Simon says, embracing the spirit of the new house rules.
The main thorn in their side is Simon’s mother Bev (Kathleen Turner). She is a dark cloud whose visits are filled with passionate passive aggression, and non-stop references to her own failed relationship with her former husband. Unhelpfully, with the new baby on the way, Bev even goes so far to warn Carey that Simon inherited his father’s worst traits.
Still, despite Bev’s worst intentions, things are OK at home. But when Carey has a chance encounter with struggling musician Owen (Douglas Smith), she finds herself charmed by his flirtatious, but slightly awkward presence.
I am leaving out one major detail of “The Swearing Jar’s” plot. It is a crucial one, and I’m trying to avoid spoilers here, so read on with caution (it’s best to go into this one cold) as I try and talk around the plot twist.
Mixing Carey’s past and present, “The Swearing Jar” examines one person’s experience with grief. Dramatically, when her life is turned inside-out, the film takes on a richer texture, while maintaining the dual nature of humor and drama that fuel the first half. It’s the story of perseverance and an emotional reckoning, and it is effectively rendered by Clemens’s heartfelt performance.
“The Swearing Jar” is has its ups-and-downs, both stylistically and emotionally, but emerges as a nicely calibrated, resonant look at grief, love and moving on.