10 Items or Less
I don’t care … You want to pay with a check, I need to see some ID.

Theatrical Release Date: 12/01/2006
Director: Brad Silberling
Cast: Morgan Freeman, Paz Vega

In the middle of the summer blockbuster season, it’s so refreshing to pop in a DVD and get carried away with a little film that has no explosions, no car chases and no aliens trying to take over the world.

“10 Items or Less” is a deceptively complex film, wrapped in the most simple of guises.

In the film, Morgan Freeman plays an actor whose hasn’t shot a film a few years and is doing some research for an independent film about a grocery store manager.

So he is brought to a hole-in-the-wall grocery store in the middle of nowhere and he proceeds to take in the sights and sounds.

Of particular interest to him is a feisty checkout girl played by the very beautiful and talented Paz Vega. She’s basically doing everything at the store and he quickly begins to focus his character study on her.

While Freeman’s character is undertaking this new venture, Vega’s is in the midst of her own metamorphosis and together, the two find the strength and will to go forward with their journeys.

That sounds trite, I know, but following the two of them over the course of this day they spend together is a marvelous experience.

There’s a playfulness in Freeman’s study of the people they encounter and Vega is so easy to fall in love with and cheer for that I was hoping the day would never end. The insulated bubble the characters create for themselves is very engaging and it makes you want to know more about each of them.

As you can probably tell, this isn’t so much a plot driven film. It’s a character study and a more succinct and heartwarming version of “Lost in Translation”.

What makes this so special is that through their simple conversations, you really begin to understand them and see these people as whole, developed characters. The onion layers analogy is very apropos.

It’s impressive that in a film where it’s not about “doing” but “experiencing”, you don’t feel like the scenes are unnecessary. While much of the film is a series of long dialogues, you quickly realize that each one is building their friendship and strengthening their connection.

These characters are both lost and found, and together they are able to share the pieces of themselves that will help fill them both.

It brings to mind all those times when you meet someone and you connect and it’s like this perfect scene in a movie … only at some point, the time to leave them comes about and you realize that maybe the relationship was only perfect because you knew it wouldn’t last forever.

People have a funny ability to change their perspective on situations based on so many different elements, time and need being two big components. “10 Items or Less” explores that thread and through my own inner thoughts that were being subtly played with while watching the film, the film became that much more endearing and powerful.

If you like character driven films and are looking for something sublime, please go check out “10 Items or Less”. I’m handing out a 4 out of 5 and hope that by reviewing it, more people will find the film and love it like I do.