Misplaced | Chicago Reader

Misplaced

Endangered by their activism in Poland's Solidarity struggle in 1981, a mother (Elzbieta Czyzewska) and son (John Cameron Mitchell) leave Warsaw for the U.S., staying with relatives (Viveca Lindfors, Deirdre O'Connell, John Christopher Jones) until they can move into an apartment of their own; their problems in adjusting to a new culture are exacerbated somewhat when the teenage son can't accept the mother's affair with their blue-collar landlord (Drew Snyder). This semiautobiographical independent film, written and directed by Louis Yansen (Thomas DeWolfe collaborated on the script), has persuasive performances by American actor Mitchell, Polish actress Czyzewska (the model for Sally Kirkland's Anna), and the Swedish-born Lindfors, as well as a few awkward moments with some of the secondary players. One overall strength is its taboo-breaking position on the behavior of Americans toward foreigners. The mother and son initially encounter rudeness and unfriendliness almost everywhere they turn before their talents—the mother as a Voice of America announcer, the boy as a violinist—help them find some acceptance.

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