New Netflix original movie comments on Westport lifestyle


By Caroline Donohue ’20

On Sept. 14, 2018 Netflix released a new movie that dives into the secrets of Westport, Connecticut, the hometown of most students at Staples High School. Although it seems like a tiny town, it is commonly known as an affluent and educated community. “The Land of Steady Habits,” a Netflix original movie directed by Nicole Holofcener, goes into depth about the life of a middle aged, divorced man living in Westport who feels trapped by society.

The movie’s main character is Anders Hill, played by Ben Mendelsohn. Anders recently retired and divorced his wife, and is currently living on his own. The other half of his family, his son, Preston, ex-wife and her new boyfriend live in their own house together. Through the movie, Anders’ struggles are shown as he is bored with his life because he is a complete outsider and cannot seem to accomplish anything.

Anders creates a friendship with teenager and family friend Charlie. They do drugs together to escape from their misery. Charlie, a recovering drug addict himself, becomes a son-like figure to Anders, as his own 27-year-old son never spends time with him. The movie not only focuses on Anders and Charlie’s conflicts, but dives into the life of Preston, son of Anders and friend of Charlie’s. He is also a recovering alcoholic who survives by living out of his car and getting a minimum wage job.
I recommend this movie to all who live in Westport. The movie does an amazing job of replicating the lives of people in Westport and what it can be like living in this town.

The movie comments on the “steady habits” of Westport residents: getting a job and becoming wealthy and then starting a family while trying to live a perfect life. Contrary to this, Anders represents an outside figure who feels trapped and alone, as he is very different from everyone else in the town. It gives a reality check to habitants in this town, and demonstrates how easy it is to get caught up in wealth and prosper.

Another amazing feature about the movie is that most scenes are actually filmed in Westport. Clips of downtown, Compo beach and regular streets are shown at many times during the film. It was really interesting to watch clips of my own town, and even hear the characters comment on real things that happened in Westport. For example, Anders goes on a date with a woman named Barbara, (Connie Britton) and they have a conversation about the town. They talk about events that have actually occurred in Westport.

Although I did believe it was a thought-provoking movie, I would only recommended watching to citizens of Westport. It is only interesting to watch when you know they are commenting about your town, living in your town and reflecting on the ways of people in Westport.

The movie itself is quite somber and is categorized as a “comedy” film, although I don’t think I laughed once while watching. I would definitely generalize it as a melodramatic film, as it is extremely emotional and disappointing at some points. There is not much humour, and I am not sure why Netflix decided to call it that.

“The Land of Steady Habits” has a mix of romance, drama, somber and playfulness. It focuses on the town of Westport and the community encompassing it. I would rate it a solid 7/10, an interesting commentary on Westport, although maybe not something I would chose to watch again.