The constant flow of conversation between Mary Stuart Masterson’s character and every actor in the film builds the tension of her character, with maybe only one or two scenes in the entirety of the film with no dialogue. 

Masterson’s character is fought and torn down at every scene, but the persistent engagements she has with the people in her life have one common thread: her mother, played by Diane Ladd. 

This film is called “Isle of Hope.”

Push and pull struggle

It’s a film of a push and pull struggle between Ladd and Masterson as the characters battle their own egos of shared and passed down traits of control and trauma from the other on both ends, eventually both waving the white flag of reconciliation after decades of pent up grudges and bitterness.

The story is immensely carried by the dialogues of Ladd and Masterson as well as Sam Robards and Andrew McCarthy who play Masterson’s brother and ex-husband, respectively, both lending the audience to understand the reason behind who Masterson’s character is. 

Standing ovation for Diane Ladd after her film “Isle of Hope” finished screening for the Coronado Island Film Festival. Staff photo by Madeline Yang.

Ladd, who attended the Coronado Island Film Festival and was this year’s Legacy Award honoree, shared her passion for this film during an interview with the Coronado News following the screening on Nov. 12.

Ladd said it was important for her to do a film like this because of the nature of it. 

“There’s no violence! I’m sick of all the violence every night on television and in films,” Ladd exclaimed, a sentiment she shared the night before when accepting her award and sitting down with Leonard Maltin, the host of the Leonard Maltin Industry Tribute Awards Gala. 

‘A starring role for an older woman’

In addition to the importance of her making a film with a message she agreed on and wanted to send out, she said she loved the script. 

“First of all, it was a starring role for an older woman. Not very many of those, you know. But, I’m lucky to be a working actor,” Ladd said to the Coronado News. “I’m one of the lucky ones.”

Diane Ladd, British Academy Film Award winner, attends this year’s Coronado Island Film Festival to screen her film “Isle of Hope.” Staff photo by Madeline Yang.

She is an executive producer on “Isle of Hope” but lightheartedly describes her role in the film as a “gun for hire” as she wasn’t involved in the screenwriting or direction of the movie, and instead trusted the film to the director Damián Romay.

“He was just so adorable,” Ladd said affectionately, teasing a new film that she and him wrote together that is still in the works. 

With Ladd’s film and a dozen others closing out the film festival, including the closing night documentary, “Common Ground,” that Ladd’s daughter, Academy Award winning actress Laura Dern is narrating, this five-day event has seen roughly 80 films from all styles, languages and ages. 

So with that, the curtains close on the 2023 Coronado Island Film Festival. 

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Madeline Yang is a reporter for The Coronado News, covering the City of Coronado, the U.S Navy and investigating the Tijuana/Coronado sewage issue. She graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University with her Bachelors in Journalism with an emphasis in Visual Storytelling. She loves writing, photography and videography and one day hopes to be a filmmaker. She can be reached by phone at 916-835-5843.