Greetings again from the darkness from the Dallas International Film Festival. Yes, it is funny. And it's also not funny. This little relationship gem breaks down into 3 chapters conveniently and obviously noted with title placards: Before, Together, After.
The story follows Juice Bar manager Jamie and stand-up comedian Eliot as their worlds literally collide in a chance meeting that doesn't, on the surface, set the stage for love ever after. Director and co-writer Paul Ashton plays Jamie and co-writer Katie Page plays Eliot, and their natural on screen rapport comes courtesy of their real life relationship (as they disclosed in the post screen Q&A).
Don't mistake this for some simple rom-com. There is a lot going on here and it swirls around not just their budding romance, but also their individual lives. It's very interesting how the story offers commentary on such topics as how young adults still use their parents as an excuse for their own lack of career success and/or happiness. In an interesting twist, it also allows us to view those same parents as real people with their own issues, rather than just a drag on the "kids". And speaking of parenting, Jamie and Eliot go through some rather unique soul-searching on the topic.
If that's still not enough subject matter for you, we also witness Eliot's struggles with anxiety. Her trips to a therapist are a battleground for medication levels Eliot wants to be free of them, and wonders if they are a crutch or actually help. No judgments here, just wonderful material for further discussion.
On top of all that, we are treated to some sterling stand-up from Beth Stelling and Ahmed Bharoocha who are both extraordinarily talented comics. Plus Ms. Page more than holds her own at the microphone, as she brings Eliot's personal life (and poor Jamie's mishaps) to her material. It's a joy to see an indie with such depth, insight and commentary on what relationships are like in today's ever-changing world.
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