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The Color Wheel2011

  • 3.8
THE COLOR WHEEL is the story of JR (Carlen Altman), an increasingly transient aspiring news-anchor, as she forces her disappointing younger brother Colin (Alex Ross Perry) to embark on a road trip to move her belongings out of her professor-turned-lover’s apartment (Bob Byington). Traveling through fog-shrouded highways of New England, uncomfortably running into old school-mates, revisiting shared familial history from which they have long since diverged, chaos and calamity are not far behind their beat up Honda Accord. It can only be a matter of time before JR and Colin arrive at the strangest and most unsettling of resolutions and put to rest their decades of animosity, half-baked sibling rivalry and endless bickering, in his comedic symphony of disappointment and forgiveness.

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"The most entertaining unpleasant film I've seen in years." - David Edelstein, New York Magazine

6 members like this review

The comic wrapped around the tragic, relationship lines vivisecting one another until the nostalgia of the past is made plainly, unbearably present. Uncomfortable, sharp, and ultimately more vital than the bulk of modern American cinema.

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Member Reviews (17)

7959605066a1d0ff7205ad2354fc4924? f 0062
top reviewer

The comic wrapped around the tragic, relationship lines vivisecting one another until the nostalgia of the past is made plainly, unbearably present. Uncomfortable, sharp, and ultimately more vital than the bulk of modern American cinema.

6 members like this review
top reviewer

I know these people. Talk about anything, talk around everything, never getting to the main point, the true emotions, the necessary normal understanding of attempted connection. Then it is too late. Resentment sets in, the truth is pushed back, hidden behind masks created to protect the wearer from everything that should have been let out into the open and understood as time went by. Then, it becomes too much. It becomes an explosion of love, hate, desire, disgust, and it turns into an unstoppable act of desperation. In 'The Color Wheel' the act was one of sexual release. It could just as easily have turned into an act of destruction, physical abuse, anger, murder. I was actually hoping for a happier ending, as I grew to like the female lead and tolerate the brother. I wanted them to live happily ever after together. I think they needed more time together, to understand each other better, to realize what they missed and what they have created. But, they wound up right back where they started. And so it goes for us all. I want to see them in ten years. Sequel? Prequel? I would be interested.

3 members like this review


2 members like this review
top reviewer

I want to say something decidedly academic and analytic about this film, but all I could come up with is that Alex Ross Perry sounds exactly like Michael Cera.

And despite how much I love naturalistic improvisation, I have trouble believing that a college professor would say "like" 45 times per sentence.

Still, 'The Color Wheel' is a great road film. And Carlen Altman is the perfect pinch hitter for Trieste Kelly Dunn.

1 member likes this review

The film, AT FIRST, SEEMED SADDLED WITH LESS THAN PRO ACTING . It turns out, for me, the less than slick acting makes this film believable.

1 member likes this review
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this film is quite good and it also goes for laughs in a way that so many films don't even consider bothering to try

top reviewer

One of many American Independent films who's entire appeal is invested in a third-act kicker. What makes THE COLOR WHEEL stand out from the over-saturated entries using a similar gimmick is that everything previous is recontextualized after the climax -- and it's a climax worth sticking around for.

top reviewer

An oddly compelling film. I'm not sure I liked it, but I won't soon forget it.

top reviewer

This sharp-tongued movie did not impress me when I first saw it several years back, but I'm glad to have revisited it. Carlen Altman and Alex Ross Perry give enjoyable performances and the film is at its best when the screen is left to just the two of them. Perry's film is very much a victim of the limited budget, but there is just enough manic energy from he and his leading actress to bump the entire film far above where one expects it to be. In many ways "The Color Wheel" is a charming movie about two very unlikeable and annoying people. The unpleasantness of this road trip is the key reason that makes it worthwhile. You would not want to hang out with these two bickering siblings, but watching them is surprisingly fun.

top reviewer

I respect Perry's independent spirit and his uncompromising commitment to his vision. At the same time, there is a certain shallowness to this film which simply isn't appealing to me.

Saw this in a theater and was super pulled-in. The only other ALP joint I've seen is Queen of Earth, which was also fantastic. Would love to see more of Carlen Altman.

Painfully inept acting, camera work - a film school class exercise, perhaps - couldn't watch beyond 15 minutes

This version was so grainy. Too distracting.

Funny, awkward, sad and an extremely relatable movie about growing up and not knowing where you will go in the future.

masterclass of comedy

"[...] I can just imagine all the creepy, perverse stuff you're capable of that I didn't think before."