Two of the films opening at Kendall Square this week, while very different, record ordeals of perseverance, braving the unknown and strength of bonds. The first, from prolific mumblecore maestro Joe Swanberg, “Digging for Fire,” explores a couple in transition, hoping to validate their young union as well as plan for the future. Tim (Jake Johnson) and Lee (Rosemarie DeWitt) housesit a small mansion in a secluded suburban valley outside L.A. They’ve recently transplanted from Minnesota with their young son (conveniently, for plot’s sake staying with rich grammy and grandpa played by Judith Light and Sam Elliot) and are looking to begin their second lives (he’s a teacher and she’s a yoga instructor, and for ideological reasons they long eschewed economic responsibility), but something’s not quite right between them as they flounder forward, and it doesn’t help the air of tenuousness that they’re supported by her parents.
Out of the earth rises a needed jolt when Tim discovers a gun and a bone poking out of a hillside. Is it human or animal? Without an active case, the police aren’t all that inclined to investigate, but Tim, ignited by his imagination and his need for a tax-filing procrastination, keeps digging. Lee doesn’t share Tim’s curiosity and, despite some killer house parties and much merriment, the two drift further apart, so Lee is doing her own thing while Tim hosts digging parties with his immature, boozed-up posse. Eventually, each principal ends up with a fetching member of the opposite sex. For her, it’s the charming Orlando Bloom, who should’ve been doing more films like this long ago; for him, it’s a nubile waif (Brie Larson) hanging out at one of the house gatherings.