Linoleum (2023)

Linoleum (2023)

This quasi-sci-fi indie plays its surreal events to deeply poignant effect



United States of America
Comedy, Drama, Science Fiction
Amy Hargreaves, Gabriel Rush, Jay Walker
101 min


If Donnie Darko met The Father.

What it's about

A man experiences a midlife crisis when mind-bending events begin to unfold around him.

The take

Strange things are happening in the sleepy cul-de-sac where Cameron Edwin (comic Jim Gaffigan) lives: cars are falling from the sky, space rockets are crash-landing in his backyard, and his doppelgänger has just moved in next door and stolen his job. Unnerved by all these weird occurrences and feeling like a failure in light of his looming divorce, Cameron goes full midlife crisis and decides to rebuild the damaged rocket as a last-ditch attempt to fulfill his lifelong dream of being an astronaut. It’d be giving too much away to say anything more about the plot, but suffice it to say that the uncanniness lurking under Linoleum’s surface comes to mind-bending fruition as the rational and the fantastic meld into one. Though it’s already deeply affecting on first watch, this is the kind of movie you’ll immediately want to rewind to absorb the full weight of.

What stands out

We’re not exaggerating about that doppelgänger: Jim Gaffigan actually plays both Cameron and his dead ringer, the much sterner and more professionally successful Kent. The dual role requires Gaffigan to ambidextrously toggle between the affable but pathetic Cameron and the grim stoniness of Kent, who disapproves of his son’s (Gabriel Rush) friendship with Cameron’s queer daughter (Katelyn Nacon). Expanding too much on just how every performance in Linoleum (including Rhea Seehorn as Cameron’s wife Erin) is so layered will give the game away, but trust us when we say each cast-member is doing work as cosmically complex as Gaffigan’s here.

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