Uma Thurman as Rafi Gardet
Meryl Streep as Lisa Metzger
Bryan Greenberg as David Bloomberg
Jon Abrahams as Morris
Zak Orth as Randall
Annie Parisse as Katherine
Ato Essandoh as Damien
Rafi (Uma Thurman) is a woman who has gone, it seems, her entire life without really knowing love. Her family was cold and distanced, and she apparently married a man who was the same way – possibly because he reminded her of the only type of relationship she’s ever known. Reaching the prime of her life, she has – with her help from her therapist (Meryl Streep) who she has ‘adopted’ as her mother, because she has never really had one – only just begun to realize what a bad hand she has dealt herself, and started seeking other opportunities. She’s been shut down her entire life and desperately needs to open up and start living.
Young David (Bryan Greenberg) is a man on the other spectrum of life. He’s had a strong family background, but like most people who have, he’s trying to break away from it (if only in small, subtle ways) as he seeks to create his own personal identity and figure out what exactly it is that he himself wants out of life. Unfortunately, what he wants is not what his mother (also Meryl Streep) wants for him, and she is stymieing him without realizing it. He needs someone to support him unconditionally and push him to do what he really wants to do without guilt.
And somehow amongst the sea of people that is Manhattan they find each other, and give each other what they need to move on in their lives. And much of it hinges on the words of the therapist, who herself is stuck in the eternal therapist hell of telling her patients what she thinks is best for them, and helping them figure it out for themselves.
By coincidence, Rafi’s therapist/assumed mother and David’s actual mother is the same person, who herself is in the unenviable position of telling one person one thing and the other person something else because even the dispenser of ‘what is right in life’ doesn’t really know. The children of psychoanalysts are the most screwed up of all they say, and it’s easy to see how that could be true. Too much introspection is just as bad as none at all.
It’s all very New York.
Ben Younger (“Boiler Room”) directs with far more insight and intelligence than he’s shown before, but like most relationship films it has a tendency to self-indulgence. “Prime” is less about relationships than it is about life lessons – a funny, bittersweet one; but that is unfortunately what a lot of relationships turn out to be.