Jane Seymour and Bereave at Day Eight at the 2015 Sarasota Film Festival

Garvey (Malcolm McDowell) and Evelyn (Jane Seymour) have been married for 40 years, and today is their anniversary. Only Garvey has a secret that he’s been keeping from Evelyn – and he’s determined to keep it from her – even if it means ending their marriage – today.

So begins the film Bereave which played at the Sarasota Opera House on Day Eight of the 2015 Sarasota Film Festival. For the record, Jane Seymour was feted by the SFF with a special tribute event called A Lunch With Jane Seymour earlier in the day. This was held at the prestigious Sarasota Yacht Club. Then before the film screened there was a Red Carpet entrance for Jane and one of the film’s Directors Evangelos Giovanis, plus they were introduced on stage. George Giovanis, who co-directed was off in Peru shooting a film so he could not attend the SFF.

As for Seymour, isn’t she gorgeous? And who doesn’t recall Jane as Solitaire in the James Bond thriller Live and Let Die which came out in 1973. Or a bit more recently Jane played Dr. Quinn – Medicine Woman which was a well-loved TV series running from 1993 to 1998.

Bereave is about a couple who have experienced and are experiencing bumps in the road which is a natural turn of events in any marriage.

In this film, both of them are forced to try to deal with and understand something which we all must do – which is to face our own mortality. Given that as a premise, the film does have lots of lighter humorous moments.

Most of the humor comes from Keith Carradine who is playing the President of the United States on the CBS TV Series Madam Secretary. Here he plays the younger brother of Garvey. Watch for Christine Kelly, who plays Laura, a beautiful young woman who Garvey meets in the park. She’s pretty enough to get him focused on what he must do rather than what he thinks he should do.

Others in the cast are Mike Doyle and Vinessa Shaw who portray the couple’s adult children, Rachel Eggelston as the adorable grandchild. Plus there’s a loyal retainer, a driver played by Mike Starr, and a couple of street thugs who make things difficult for Evelyn.

While the film has a serious topic at its center, the film isn’t all sturm und drang. McDowell does a cantankerous curmudgeon better than any one I can think of, and Carradine spins a nice tapestry of the younger brother who might be a mafioso, or a theatrical actor, or just some one who is slightly off-center.

But I am putting my money on Jane Seymour as the main draw and attraction for the film. At times she plays hurt and tender, at other times, she’s all fire and brimstone when angry. Her role calls for the widest emotional arc of any character in the film. And Seymour is more than up to it.

After the film screened there was a Q & A with the director and Jane Seymour. The moderator was Mike Dunaway, the Creative & Program Director of the SFF. We learned that the film was eight years in the making. It took seven years to secure all the funding. Three times, they thought the funding was in place, only to have the backers pull out at the last-minute. The film was partially financed publicly on Kickstart.com, and then the film’s angel arrived.

That was Jane Seymour herself. She not only participated in the film as the lead actress, but she also put up enough of her own money that film met its financial requirements. Jane Seymour has a doubling billing – star actress and Executive Producer of the film.

Granted, this is film that should have universal appeal, as mortality enters into every family so I am recommending the movie to film goers of all ages, except maybe the youngsters in every family. While you likely will shed a tear or two, this film is definitely a crowd-pleaser.

The trailer –

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