(director: Alex Lehmann; screenwriter: Mark Duplass; cinematographer: Alex Lehmann; editor: Chris Donlon; music: Julian Wass; cast: Mark Duplass (Jim), Sarah Paulson (Amanda), Clu Gulager (Waynie); Runtime: 80; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Mel Eslyn, Xan Aranda, Sydney Fleischmann; The Orchard/Netflix; B/W 2016)
“It’s all so believable.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Cinematographer Alex Lehmann (“Paddleton”/”Meet Cute”) in his directorial debut goes fully romantic adapting to the screen the hardly fresh but refreshing script by Mark Duplass, who also stars in this black-and-white film. It’s about the possible love that could have been if things worked out differently. The two-hander love story has only one other speaking part besides those of the lovers, as Clu Gulager plays the elderly liquor store clerk.
Jim (Mark Duplasare formers) and Amanda (Sarah Paulson) are former high-school sweethearts from a small mountain town in California who reunite unexpectedly after apart for 20 years. Their meeting sets off both bitter and sweet memories. She’s returned to her hometown to care for her pregnant sister and he’s in town to help his mom sell her home, as they bump into each other in the supermarket and go to the Blue Jay diner to talk and have coffee. Then they buy some beers at the liquor store and drink them at the nearby lake as they catch up on things.
It’s all so believable. In a delightful film that is low-key, has likeable characters, has easy going natural conversations, tremendous performances from its locked-in stars and is filled with nostalgia and emotion.
It relates especially well to those who wonder what could have been if they married someone else.
It played at the Toronto International Film Festival.
REVIEWED ON 7/31/2023 GRADE: B