Dan Rybicky & Aaron Wickenden Almost There is the type of documentary that astonishes with just how much intellectual and emotional depth it's capable of touching on in its 93 minute running time. The weight of the film makes it feel more like an epic odyssey, following Peter Anton, an 82-year old eccentric artist, who has spent decades secluded in his run-down old family home, obsessively chronicling his life through a colossal, visual autobiography which he has titled, "Almost There". Early on, Almost There is very reminiscent of Grey Gardens, as when the filmmakers arrive at Peter's house they discover it is very rundown, mold-infested and teetering- a property that could be mistaken for abandoned, and should probably be condemned. Dissecting a character who has spent years creating a visual representation of his emotions, inspirations, life experiences, and tragedy, Almost There offers a unique window to the life of a man who has fortitude for his art, accepting suffering as a bi-product of completing his work. The lifeblood of what Art has the ability to do is a major aspect of Almost There, with Peter's obsessive tendencies being centered around his need for Art, which gives him the ability to create and share a piece of himself with the outside world. Living to what amounts to a life of complete solitude for what seems like a few years now, loneliness is a component of this as well, as art lets him feel connection by sharing his life with others. As Almost There slowly unravels a lot more details emerge about Peter's past, details which I won't go into here, but lets just say that Almost There does a fantastic job of never showing any judgement towards Peter Anton, presenting a profound sense of empathy for humanity in spite of all of its flaws. Almost There questions if it's possible to separate important accomplishments, in the art world or otherwise, from a person's personal crimes, with Peter himself committing a questionable act in his past, and thats probably putting it a little too kindly. Perhaps my favorite aspect of Almost There is its exploration dependency, as Peter clings onto his old family home, showing an attachment to his parents that he lived with his whole life, never being capable of being truly independent. As the filmmakers get closer to Peter they realize he shows great dependency towards them as well, leaning on them with a complete sense of in dependency, besides when it comes to his art. The film's study even erodes into the filmmaker's personal life, as the director's own brother reminds him of Peter, being a man with dependency issues, who also could suffer from some type of mental illness. It is important to understand that Almost There is not a particularly easy film to watch, especially after this dark reveal, but it's a singular story and detailed character study that embodies a lot of universal truths about dependency, loneliness, obsession, mental illness, and goodwill.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.