‘Refuge’ star Ritter shows dramatic chops

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First Posted: 9/22/2014

The Benton and Shickshinny-reared Krysten Ritter is best known for her work in comedies like “Confessions of a Shopaholic,” “She’s Out of My League” and TV’s “Don’t Trust the B—- In Apartment 23.”

But if you’re longing to see the actress display her dramatic chops, check the little-seen “Refuge” (2014, Strand, unrated, $25), which dropped earlier this month on DVD.

In the movie, which director Jessica Goldberg based on her off-Broadway play, Ritter stars as Amy, a young woman whose parents abandoned her and moved to Florida. Following their departure, Amy was forced to leave college and care for her brain-damaged brother (Logan Huffman) and delinquent sister (Madeleine Martin).

Something of a wild child, Amy has a one-night stand with a shy drifter (Ritter’s real-life boyfriend Brian Geraghty) passing through town. The next morning, the lovers surprise themselves by taking tentative steps toward a lasting romance.

While Ritter has certainly appeared in her share of dramas before – remember her role as Jane, the doomed junkie on “Breaking Bad”? – there’s something particularly raw and vulnerable about her work in “Refuge.”

The movie, which was shot in a working-class section of the Hamptons, occasionally drags. But if you can get past that flaw, you’ll discover a deeply affecting tale about a bunch of misfits who, against all odds, find happiness as members of a one-of-a-kind family.