When Jason Cortlund and Julia Halperin conceived the premise for Now, Forager, a meandering tale of two mushroom foragers and their doomed love, they might have mistakenly consumed one too many Amanita muscaria, a fungus known for its psychoactive properties. The fleshy, spore-bearing fungi that Lucien (Cortlund) and Regina (Tiffany Esteb) gather from the forest floor are not without metaphorical significance to their crumbling marriage—the poisonous and parasitic nature of many fungal genera perfectly mirrors Lucien’s gloomy, antagonistic effect on his wife. But the film grows disconnected in its delivery: Regina and Lucien trudge through scenes that lack the feeling that could have brought shape and meaning to their nebulous and obscure story. The only redeeming qualities lie in the educational moments, when Lucien sighs his way through the scientific names of wild mushrooms as they appear on the screen. Each variety is oddly resplendent and captivating, particularly the Hericium erinaceus, which looks like Santa’s beard growing on a tree, and the “destroying angel,” a slender, snow-white mushroom that can kill a grown man. Sadly, a drama whose strongest moments are still shots of wild fungi can’t exactly be called a cinematic triumph.
- Running Time:
- Release Date: Thursday, December 20, 2012
- Critic's Score: C+
- Watch the trailer