J. T. O’Neal has directed Au Pair, Kansas with a remarkable sensitivity to each character’s vulnerability. In one particular scene, Beau watches a videotape made by his late father in which Charlie assures him that Beau has his father’s unconditional love (unlike the relationship Charlie had with his own father). Traci Lords goes through tremendous mood swings as the grieving Helen, while Havard Lilleheie’s dynamic performance as Oddmund is a constant tonic. Au Pair, Kansas also benefits from some beautiful cinematography by Marco Fargnoli, who sees the barren Kansas landscape through a devoted and loving lens.
“AU PAIR, KANSAS by JT O’Neal is a world premiere feature drama shot in Kansas that one of our programmers called one of best features to come out of the area by a local filmmaker.”
Fred Andrews, President/Founder Kansas City Filmmakers Jubilee
First IMDB Review, 10 January, 2011:
“I was fortunate enough to be part of a private screening of this movie along with a group of people from our local PFLAG chapter. While I must admit, I was a bit dubious about the plot and the fact that Traci Lords was in it (I kept hearing 1970’s porn music in my head…). However, I was truly surprised to learn that this independently-made movie was touching and quite realistic. There was romance, and many of the actors ran the gamut of emotions, doing it quite well. The plot was wonderfully written, and even a bit surprising. I think that the actors cast were nearly perfect for their roles. The movie was beautifully shot, and played with the quality and look of a multi-million dollar blockbuster. The soundtrack went well with the scenery and is one I’d actually put on MY iPod! Best of all, this movie touched on very real, very current issues in our society. I think the writer/director did a fantastic job of keeping this aspect of the film very real and appropriate. This film made me laugh, cry, and was thought-provoking in many ways. I’d highly recommend it!”
I loved it! It looks like a $5,000,000 movie! Like watching JUNEBUG, or JUNO. Amazing job. I really can’t believe how good it looks for what it cost. The Cinematography is so composed. Loved all the characters and there was great emotion… 10 out 10, and given the budget it should be 15 out of 10.
Sean McConville, writer/director, DEADLINE
AU PAIR, KANSAS “is very, very, VERY impressive! A truly touching tale, engaging from start to finish, funny, sad, ultimately affirming, with much to say regarding the nature of the ol’ human condition, especially identity. Gorgeous photography, indeed, the craft across the board is first rate. Excellent performances, especially the sons. Loved the music, too. But at the bottom of it it’s the writing that shines. Really skillful plotting, fleshy, human characters, brittle, arresting dialogue. Bravo!!”
Richard Walter, Chair, UCLA Screenwriting Program
“The film is wonderful. So touching. I laughed out loud. It made me cry. It’s beautifully shot, it’s wonderfully acted, the teanage boy is a fabulous, fabulous actor. I was blown away, just blown away by AU PAIR, KANSAS. I love it. I thought it was absolutely astounding. Wonderful movie, such a great movie. It’s gorgeously edited, wonderfully shot. I hope it just goes everywhere and wins everything. I think it should.”
SH, Actor, New York City
“Your film is astounding, especially for a first feature. It soars above many films I’ve seen at Sundance where you come out of the theater scratching your head and wondering what it was about and how it ever got into the festival. I don’t know how you shot this on the small budget you had… It certainly didn’t look cheaply done. It was anything but. I was very impressed with Traci Lords’ performance. I never felt like I was watching someone act. I was watching someone being in the moment.
I watched the film on a 52” HDTV and visually it looked beautiful. I completely connected with the emotion of the story. I liked everything about the film. AU PAIR, KANSAS is more than a noble effort. It’s the dream of every student who ever walked into Melnitz Hall (UCLA film theater). Congratulations.”
AC, Filmmaker, Los Angeles