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Restless Film Review: Alone Once Again

A woman looks ahead of her in the 2024 film Restless

In her new film, Restless, Lyndsey Marshal gives a tour-de-force performance as a woman on the verge of an epic meltdown.


Director: Jed Hart
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Thriller
Run Time: 89′
Tribeca Premiere: June 9-13, 2024
Restless Release Date: TBA

One of the greatest joys of becoming an empty nester is the peace and quiet that finally comes after 18 years of constantly feeling like there is a fire to put out. It’s the time to take up new hobbies, redecorate your house the way you’ve always wanted to and make whatever you crave for dinner without having an audience to cater to.

It should be the point in your life where you finally get to return to yourself after raising a child. That is unless you have a group of party boys blasting their music, raging into all hours of the night move in next door. Restless hilariously explores the lengths of patience and depths of insanity that are discovered when pushed to the brink of a total breakdown.

In Jed Hart’s debut feature film Restless, we meet the protagonist Nicky (Lyndsey Marshal) in her tenure as an empty nester. She is still grappling with the death of her father who formerly lived in the house connected to hers. Prior to her father’s passing, after working long days as a caretaker in a retirement home, she would come home to attend to her father’s needs as well as her teenage son’s. While his passing was by no means a relief, it did finally allow Nicky time to herself as his death coincided with her son heading off to college.  

Nicky’s life on her own is not terribly exciting; she still works long hours at the understaffed elder’s home, but she enjoys her time with herself. She lives a peaceful, albeit mundane, existence. That is until her new neighbors move into the home that previously belonged to Nicky’s elder parents. Deano (Aston McAuley), the leader of the gang, throws wild parties every night that rage until three or four AM with music that can be heard down the whole block.  

A woman and a man argue in the street in the 2024 film Restless
Restless (Haus Pictures / 2024 Tribeca Film Festival)

Since these parties majorly disrupt Nicky’s ability to sleep and function as a caretaker, she attempts to find common ground with her neighbor by asking Deano to turn the music down just a bit, not having to shut it off altogether. While Deano initially agrees, things turn ugly as he breaks their pact and the two enter a game of psychological warfare with one another. 

Restless is an unconventional story about rediscovering yourself later in life. When we meet Nicky, she doesn’t have much mind for herself. She keeps herself healthy, fed and rested but her attitude towards life is strongly reflected in the way she keeps her home. She has an aversion to messes, not even allowing people to walk around her house with shoes on. The way she keeps her home is a direct reflection of the way she keeps herself, tidy and presentable. Maybe it’s due to her career as a caregiver or her experience as a mother but she seems to shrink herself to make others feel comfortable taking up space. 

When this mess with Deano and the boys next door begins, the music and noise directly affect her home. It causes her bed to vibrate, her walls to crack and her home to become unlivable. As she tries and fails to get through to the young men next door, we see her begin to crack and the effects of her inability to go to sleep come into play. Nicky starts to lose her sense of reality and act out of pure, unbridled anger.

In this sense, we as an audience come to realize Nicky doesn’t know who she is if she is not taking care of someone else. She went from raising her son to looking after her parents to all three parties leaving her behind in one sense or another in the home she made for them. Her life is devoted to helping others, yet when she finally reaches out in desperate need of help from someone, no one seems to be able to take care of Deano and the neighbors in a permanent way. Worse yet, no one else cares to get involved. 

In a twisted way, this experience teaches her she deserves the space she takes up and she is not asking for too much. Deano is unreasonable and vicious, but in dealing with him she realizes she has much more of a backbone than she was ever aware of before. She finds the edge that she has lost in all the years she has been forced to be the strong one for everyone else. 

A woman looks to her side in the 2024 film Restless
Restless (Haus Pictures / 2024 Tribeca Film Festival)

Lyndsey Marshal’s portrayal of Nicky is the strongest performance I have seen this year at the Tribeca Film Festival. She expertly takes us along Nicky’s emotional journey, from bored empty nester to completely unhinged mad woman. It has never been so fun to watch someone completely and totally lose their mind. Beat for beat she hits her marks and surprises you with her emotional development throughout the film because of how much attention you will be paying to seeing what will be the straw to finally break the camel’s back. 

Restless is a humorous and insane ride that sneaks up on you. Hart’s ability to build your anxieties up to an all-time high as Nicky descends further and further into the void of anger that is buried deep inside of her is unlike anything I have ever experienced before. Her complete break from her sense of reality is not just masterfully performed but beautifully shot, taking you through every emotion Nicky experiences one by one. No film will give you a greater sense of satisfaction as its credits roll following one of the greatest servings of justice a film’s ending has ever had.   


Restless premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 9-13, 2024. Read our list of 15 films to watch at the 2024 Tribeca Film Festival!

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