Netflix’s ‘Deidra and Lainey Rob a Train’ tells heartwarming story, lacks depth
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Sydney Freedman’s sophomore film Deidra and Lainey Rob a Train tells the story of Deidra Tanner, a high school senior who takes care of her sister Lainey and brother Jett while their mother is in jail and their father continuously manages to be absent from their lives. Deidra is fiercely smart but struggles to balance her schoolwork and home responsibilities like trying to pay her mother’s bail and keeping her siblings out of foster care. When things finally reach their breaking point, Deidra and Lainey come up with a plan to rob trains to keep the family afloat.
The movie deals with serious themes, but it robs itself of any emotional depth. Going into the movie, I expected to see some raw feelings thinking that the story of a teenage girl raising her siblings, on the verge of giving up her college dreams, would call for some true dramatic acting. Instead of allowing the audience into Deidra’s psyche, all we get are a couple of eye rolls and exasperated sighs. The movie could have also used more insight into Lainey and Jett as their well being is the whole point of the robbery; all we ever learn about them is that Lainey is selected for a school pageant and is easily swept into her sister’s antics and that Jett likes superhero toys. With the seriousness of the issues trying to be addressed in the movie, it needed some type of character complexity.
Despite the fact that Deidra and Lainey is not particularly profound, it does have the charm of a feel-good Disney movie. It manages to make the audience feel for the kids trying to pull together while their mom is in jail. It makes you want to root for them and just like in any good Disney movie, just when you feel that everything is going to go south, the main character saves the day. There is an element of relief in knowing that everything worked out. Overall, Deidra and Lainey Rob a Train is a cute movie with a simple plot, the type that makes you know that there is going to be a happy ending.