She’s also the only reason Charles is leaving the house, as he has promised to honor the parking lot across the street parking lot for his car as she prepares to leave his spot. This road traffic scourge of the New York area’s existence is what sets history in motion. After losing interest in a lack of tip from his delivery guy – the only person who saw him regularly – Charles accidentally grabs the wrong set of keys and leaves his house to chase the guy and offer him a meager dollar. . Good intention prompts him to be locked outside draped in a shabby sweater and without his shoes. As if that weren’t enough, Charles is also on an edit fidgetcube for Turner Classic Movies. If he can’t get inside, and soon, he risks losing his job.
So begins his journey through the neighborhood, reconnecting with life outside his apartment. Nozkowski creates a sweet, mellow situational comedy, surrounding his lead role with a series of supporting characters whose expected quirk is sharpened by a hint of salinity and close observation. Of course, everyone has some wisdom to pass on to Charles, but Charles’ method and response often unfolds in ways that are unexpected. A lot of that comes from the actors, who all cook meals from the smaller rooms. They are in a playful orbit around the worthy and shining star of the film.
It’s a great showcase for Henry, who is embarking on his first major performance after memorable support turns on the “Atlanta” TV show and in films like “If Beale Street Could Talk”. His other work shows a talent for both comedy and drama, and Charles contains a multitude of both. Henry always reminded me of the late Robin Harris, whose large, physical car also vibrated with poise and swagger. Like Harris, Henry can spit out the saltiest, most ridiculous lines with sinful glee, but her eyes alone can convey pathos like the best silent movie star. We know that there has to be a scene where Charles “takes off”, that is, he comes back to life. But “The Outside Story” doesn’t make it a grand gesture. Instead, the film describes it as a moment of silence on Henry’s part. The camera stays on her face and her response is both heartbreaking and uplifting. It’s a great performance, a calling card for the main roles to come.