But this time the characters, and their attendant connections, just keep piling up, each of them bursting with internal furies that they struggle to keep hidden. This galaxy of people overlaps in a minute geographical pocket, leading Golden Exits to burn with a feeling of immense smallness. The characters talk extensively about what matters to them rather than what matters to the plot, exposing themselves, sharing the worries that keep them up at night. One scene literally opens on someone casually asking a sibling, with reference to nothing in particular, "So, what's the fear?" an almost unfathomable can-of-worms query that doesn't lend itself to a dramatic encounter of predictable shape. That's not a bad thing. The more microscopic and incidental the movie gets -- as in this candlelit conversation -- the grander its cumulative force becomes.
The springtime story, as small as a long-forgotten anecdote, traces just a few months and a couple of blocks. The catalyst is the outsider: Naomi (Emily Browning), a 25-year-old Australian in town on a work visa, but it's Analeigh Tipton's soft-spoken, understated Jess who emerges as the movie's beating heart.