Atlanta Film Festival Preview: The Scent Of Rain And Lightning

Hoo-ah! Sorry, wrong Scent. I had a chance to see an early screening of the new film The Scent of Rain and Lightning which will have its premiere at the Atlanta Film Festival at the end of March, followed by Cleveland and Kansas City. The film is not in Smellivision. The scent is a metaphor.The Scent of Rain and Lightning

Jody (Maika Monroe) learns that Billy Coyle (Brad Carter), the man who killed her parents, is getting sentence commuted. Billy’s return opens not only old family wounds but secrets both families thought would stay buried.

It’s a difficult situation. Jody could take the cop (Will Patton)’ advice and hide. She faces it head on. That’s the most interesting drama when people take the more difficult, but potentially more constructive route.

Billy is a bad dude, unstable and volatile sober let alone drunk, and he abuses animals to boot. But Jody starts to realize he may have gone down the wrong way for the wrong things.

I imagine if you read the Nancy Pickard book it’s a different experience. I didn’t know the mystery. I’m also not sure how the book handled the narrative but the screenplay balances the timelines and doles out revelations at a solid pace.

Like a good mystery, the whodunnit is only half of it. It’s compelling but the other half is what does it mean for the characters who are searching? You realize even if they lived, Jody’s family would have been torn apart. Obviously it would be better if she had two separate parents than none at all, but the emotional complexity can’t be spoiled even if you know the ending.

Fans of the book ought to be pleased by the cinematic adaptation of The Scent of Rain and Lightning. Even if you haven’t read the book, it’s a good mystery and drama with a great cast delivering the performances. A Scent of Rain and Lightning premieres at the Atlanta Film Festival at the end of March. Find more info and showings at and follow the film on Twitter @scentrainlight.

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