A Film By Jon Wetterau
“The Kelleys” is a story about loneliness and family in rapidly gentrifying New York. Frances Kelley is the elderly matriarch of a family that now consists of only herself and her 50 year old son Greg. They have lived in the same rent-controlled apartment in Long Island City, Queens for more than half a century.
He drinks too much and hardly works, rationalizing that he has to care for his mother. She is a devout Catholic Irish immigrant who does not really understand the way things in the neighborhood are changing or what is the matter with her son. He does indeed help take care of her, and she needs someone around the house but the way she and her son bicker is highly disturbing.
The paradox is that he can barely take care of himself, so the mother and son still have a tight bond despite its inherent dysfunctionality. A portrait of two depressed individuals attempting to peter out their last years in urban poverty, “The Kelleys” portrays Mrs. Kelley with her longing for the past and Greg’s tough guy tirades, arguing, helping each other out and trying to navigate day to day life in an increasingly expensive and uncaring world.