Rachel takes care of everyone. It’s her job; it’s what she does. From her eccentric playwright of a father, Mel (Mandy Patinkin) to her equally eccentric aspiring actress sister, Jackie (Jen Tullock) to her far-too-observant young niece, Dodge, Rachel looks after them all in the maze of an apartment they all share above a struggling theater in New York City.
Dealing with her family, trying to stage a production of her father’s latest play, and finding creative ways to financially keep the lights on at the theater leave Rachel little time for even thinking about the cute girl she just had a date with, let alone actually pursuing her. When her father dies unexpectedly, Rachel feels even more burdened by her caretaking role, especially the financial part. Turns out the building that houses their apartment and the theater – the one she thought their father owned – is actually co-owned by their mother, who died when she and Jackie were very young.
Except she’s not dead at all. Mom Sharon is now actress Sherrell (Judith Light) and she is alive and well, and is the lead on a popular soap opera.
With no choice but to confront Sherrell and get her signature so they can keep their home, Rachel reluctantly follows a very assertive Jackie to the studio to come face-to-face with their painful past. Needless to say, things do not go according to plan.
Director Hannah Pearl Utt (who also plays Rachel) and Jen Tullock wrote the script together and it’s in turn charming, hilarious, heartbreaking, and touching. The supporting cast is peppered with well-known faces (Alec Baldwin, Tim Daly, Mike Colter, Peter Jacobson) and though several storylines run at once – the theater, Sherrell, Jackie’s love life, Dodge’s therapy – they never get tangled or confusing. Hannah Pearl Utt has a deft and subtle touch as a filmmaker, making Before You Know It an engrossing family dramedy that will leave you thinking about how short life really is, and putting your focus on the things that really matter.
~ Georgia Beers
Awards & Accolades