Imagine a loving guardian; someone who cares for you as your soul protector. This person has supported you and your dreams for as long as you can remember. Then one day a memory surfaces into an eye-opening nightmare. A memory of a time when you were no longer protected. A time when you became altered. Michael Wechsler’s film Altered Minds shows how fragile the human psyche can be when it’s betrayed. So broken that it may never piece itself back together.
Tommy Shellner (Ryan O’ Nan) is one of four children who return home to celebrate their father’s last birthday before he passes away from lung cancer. Their father, Dr. Nathaniel Shellner (Judd Hirsch), is a retired psychologist of the CIA, who specialized in working with soldiers suffering from PTSD, and wants to be remembered for his patriotic achievements. With the knowledge that their father is approaching his final days, the children and their mother do what they can to make their night a pleasant one, however that is not Tommy’s main concern. Tommy, his sister Julie (Jaime Ray Newman), and their brother Harry (C.S Lee) were adopted into the family when they were kids while their other brother Leonard (Joseph Lyle Taylor) was their mother (Caroline Lagerfelt) and father’s biological son. For a while now, Tommy has felt that his father has been hiding something from his children, and after multiple sessions of therapy he has now reached the conclusion that his father had experimented on him and his adopted siblings when they were young. Over the course of the night, voices get raised and minds get rattled, while Tommy and his siblings trying to piece together what seems like a repressed memory of torture.
Despite the overall production of the film being mostly contained within the Shellner’s home, Michael Wechsler did what he could with the intriguing plot and compelling performances by the cast, especially from C.S. Lee. Overall, the film was substantial, it didn’t leave me in awe, however it also did not leave me disappointed. Altered Minds will be available DVD on June 14th.
3 out of 5 Stars