Review: The Short History of the Long Road

Lovely tale of unconventional family bonds

Because she’s blissfully lived off-the-grid, Nola never questioned her upbringing. Her loving-father managed their nomadic lifestyle with an idealistic, whimsical philosophy. But things are about to change.

“The Short History of the Long Road” is a coming of age story that avoids the pitfalls commonly associated with the genre. Enhanced by the restrained performance of “Girl Meets World’s” Sabrina Carpenter as Nola and an equally understated camera, it’s a lovely film.

The story has a late teen forced on her own by a tragic event. That event happens so subtly that it feels undeniably authentic. At every turn, writer/director Ani Simon-Kennedy infuses her film with earthy, tangible decisions, some frustrating, but always human.

We meet Nola and her father, Clint (Steven Ogg), as they progress on the open road in their vintage VW camper van. Never staying anywhere long enough to establish friendships, let alone roots, their familiar unit is insular. And as Nola reaches adulthood, she longs for something different.

Nola’s mother, Cheryl (Maggie Siff), is not in the picture. We learn that Cheryl let Clint have sole custody. And after Clint sold his bar, he quit drinking and took his child on a long, long road trip. That odyssey comes at a cost.

Read the rest of Jonathan’s review online and in print in the Times-Herald:

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