Sean Akerman’s The Diary of Preston Plummer glides along like a hazy summer dream—but that’s just on the surface. As the film unfolds, you begin to see the cracks in the island’s pleasant façade, holding a family’s long-kept secrets. The writer/director’s sophomore film tells the tale of the titular Preston Plummer: a melancholic genius who meets the anxious but tender Kate on their last night of college. On a whim, he agrees to drive her home to her parents’ resort on an island in Florida. Preston winds up staying at the there, where he and Kate find themselves falling for one another—spending their nights strolling the island’s beaches, uncovering each other’s pasts and confessions from their youth. But after Preston meets Kate’s estranged grandfather, he begins to sense that the family’s secrets are far deeper than he imagined. As Preston becomes more entwined in the mystery of their family and more enamored with Kate, the pleasant nature of the film begins to unravel into a dark look at one family’s betrayal and how both Preston and Kate must deal with the chaos of reality. We chatted with Akerman and dove deeper into his intention as a filmmaker, the challenges of independent cinema and the Lynchian undertone of the film.
Breaking Through the Surface of The Diary of Preston Plummer