Tag Archives: sundance

Teenage Dirtbag: Movie Review

Another review requested by S. It’s becoming increasingly evident that I am having a good time working through the list she requested/recommended. More than ever, I feel like all hope is not lost with my review writing and that someone, somewhere respects what I do, and that is often enough to keep me going. That she addresses herself as “my biggest fan” not only humbles me a great deal any more but only adds the icing to the cake of the wonderful movies suggested. Lest we forget, words and movies are the best way to carve a niche in my heart.

CAUTION: Implied spoilers and a personal rant embedded somewhere in the middle.

Teenage Dirtbag is a small-budget indie movie directed, scripted by Regina Crosby based on somewhat true events. I looked up background details on her and the lead cast but I’ve decided not to bore you with the details because well, my goodness, can I not wait to write about this movie already.


If you’re like me and not quick to discount a book, movie or any other form of media by simply its name or in this case, IMDB description then you’re in for a huge delight. Teenage Dirtbag is way more than what meets the eye in the first few minutes. I say this because I watched this movie thinking I knew exactly what I was in for. I’ve been doing that lately. I’ve been afraid to find triggers in movies and books that remind me of a life I had. A life I may no longer have any access to. It’s difficult to be that one person society is expecting you to be every single day. Unbearable when you’ve agreed to be that way and have no way of going back. And this is what Amber’s point of conflict is. Let’s start from scratch now, shall we?

Teenage Dirtbag is a non-linear film surrounding the high school prim and proper cheerleader, intelligent, pretty to a point of unnecessary perfection girl named Amber and the typical high school delinquent, Thayer. The movie starts off with a present day scenario where Amber is leading her days rather incoherently as she carries inside her a tiny human being. Flashback to high school. Think back to that one person you met in high school who was so thoroughly exhausting, annoying and downright difficult to avoid as much as you tried, especially if you tried. That one person of the opposite sex that tried their level hardest to get your attention and as exasperating as it was, you secretly enjoyed it. I know I did.

teenage-dirtbag-teenage-dirtbag-35391446-500-277Thayer is a deeply troubled boy trying to put on a brave-enough-to-eat-absolutely-anything obnoxious front at school while he can barely stand up to his abusive father back at home. Amber, on the other hand, excels at all the tiny and big accomplishments a girl can perform well at in high school but is neglected by her family and yearns for their appreciation. It’s hard to say that this part, right here, isn’t already sounding like the usual good girl meets bad boy cliché. But believe me when I say it’s hardly like that.

So, Amber is obviously the only person indifferent and quite unamused by Thayer’s ridiculous, cringe-worthy shenanigans that usually squeeze out reactions from everyone else. Amber, in the first person narrative describes how in retrospect all of her actions and the lack thereof, affected Thayer deeply and led from one thing to the other. It’s hard to tell what Amber feels about everything that happened back when they were young and free, whether, in hindsight she wishes she had behaved differently. But that’s me getting ahead of myself. Anyway coming back, Amber decides early on that Thayer is unworthy of her attention. She makes this so apparent at times, you have to wonder whether that really helps anyone at all. What this does is builds an air of mystery around her and attracts Thayer towards her, mostly subconsciously at the start and later, quite intensely.


As much as Amber believes that her misfortune of always being in such close proximity with Thayer is only because of the alphabetical ordering of their surnames, they end up together in a Creative Writing class. Their interactions through poetry and prose and the underlying hints passed on through verse draws them together in ways otherwise unimaginable. You see them forging a bond that is strained from the very start. Amber plays along with this and chooses to communicate with Thayer of her own volition when people aren’t paying attention. So they start passing notes during study hour. As they start developing a half-decent relationship with each other, they start to realize that both of them have issues at home that have some degree of commonality. Here’s my bone to pick with the story, Thayer and Amber were attracted to each other regardless of this angle to the plot. Anyway, I’m not one to bicker about such things too much and let me take this sour spot to diverge into parallels I love drawing between the reel life and my real life.

High school where I grew up was nothing like the one Thayer and Amber studied at or like any other high schools depicted in Western cultures. Hell, we don’t even call it “high school” per se. However, people – as I’ve been picking up on so acutely over the past few months are more or less the same in all parts of the world. So, there was a person exactly like Thayer in my life. There were two whole years that I look back on and ponder about but never speak out loud. This boy had an interest in me that aggravated me very much at the start. Recovering from a terrible break-up at the time, the last thing I needed was excessive attention and a need to overshare and thereby get really intimate with another. Fortunately, this boy for me was just a simple “no” and all of his playful (I suppose?) advances were dismissed by me and termed “hopelessly cheesy”. Onlookers laughed at us pulling off the girl-boy best friend stance and to a great extent we nervously laughed with them, too. Knowing that we each had very different personal lives but were more or less stuck in the same classroom for hours on end, we grew comfortable to a point that any kind of lack of attention from the other, resulted in a huge fight and another fact that we never admitted – jealousy. Days caught up to weeks and months and years. Time changed. We moved on with our lives. I put my foot down, asked for a choice that had me or someone else and said hurtful things and when this boy demanded I say something, anything, just like Amber, I said nothing at all. And just like Amber, in present time, I have no way of knowing how he is. I have ruthlessly chopped all means of contact and all I can do now, is wonder.

Coming back, there are scenes in the movie that give me goosebumps and I can see how they have actually been drawn from the writer and director’s personal experiences. Teenage love can be made to look all too fine and perfect on the big screen and many of these moments between Thayer and Amber are handled very carefully to bring forth more than just what meets the eye. The Creative Writing class professor brings to his character such genuineness and clarity that it’s hard not to feel you’re actually in that class with everybody else. Even that character was not stereotyped completely or overplayed. Thayer and Amber’s back and forth with their prose and poetry do not go unnoticed by him. He does not intervene in matters that he clearly has a good grasp about but has no right to interfere.

As the movie comes to its last lap, I had to take a deep breath and the gooey corners of my heart held on tight hoping against hopes that things work out for Thayer and Amber in the past. Despite knowing present day Amber’s condition. I guess, I was hoping for some kind of redemption from her, that her reason for never giving Thayer the time of day had only to do with society’s created norms. Films like this are hidden gems, not looking to make grand statements, targeted towards an extremely narrow audience that can draw on and appreciate even the slightest of resemblance to their past or present life.


Appropriate Behavior: Movie Review

I’ve often said I’m not big on the comedy genre in movies and that it takes a very sharp, witty and often satirical take on humour for that genre to seemingly appeal to me at all. I feel like lately I’ve been stepping out of my usual indie movie flavours and experimenting with a random dash of humour and getting rewarded for my courage.


Appropriate Behaviour is a humorous, at times audacious yet thoroughly amusing take on several issues ranging from being an immigrant in modern day New York to living with a queer sexual orientation, coming out of the closet, dealing with heartbreak, growing as a person and simply being in your 20’s and what that entails. While all of this could easily be made into a five season long television show on HBO with a studded star-cast and a strong soundtrack, Desiree Akhavan – the writer, director and lead actress in the movie successfully wraps it all up in about 80 minutes.

Starring as Shirin, an Iranian immigrant living in NYC, Desiree effectively puts forth the bubble of her world as a bisexual young woman simply trying to get by. The movie flows back and forth to her relationship with a white girl named Maxine – that is, to be honest – doomed from the start. Post this devastating break-up with Maxine, Shirin is a big, hot mess. Shirin, although very spontaneous, upbeat and perky is a sensitive person under all that and wants Maxine back so bad.

The underlying reason for the break-up that Shirin can’t seem to shake off is the fact that she couldn’t come out of the closet and tell her parents. Her Iranian parents, with Iranian values and an Iranian straight elder son, set out to marry a girl from his medical profession. Shirin terms it as older child syndrome where the older kid wants to be perfect for his parents and do everything right but deep down is simmering and could one day pull out a gun in a public place. Shirin made me laugh and reminded me a little bit of me and that made my day.

Shirin’s the obvious centre of this story and even though the movie felt so familiar – I later figured out why – she does a stupendous job at keeping you gripped start to finish. She has a strong camera presence, lovely set of expressions, much grace in her acting and a whole lot of gumption that makes you love her but also sometimes pity her.

bisexualThe issues Shirin faces trying to find in Brooklyn  – an apartment, a decent job, the right partner – will strike a chord of commonality in anyone, in any part of the world. What I love is how Appropriate Behaviour doesn’t dwell too much on a particular problem, doesn’t poke humour too hard at say a scene between her potential employer and herself wherein he reacts to her Iranian origins in the most clichéd way imaginable. It’s refreshing when comic elements are in the slights and not all over the place in that metaphorical slapstick manner. It’s even more appealing when characters try to keep their sense of humour even in their darkest days.

Appropriate Behaviour is clearly an achievement as a debut film and is definitely a movie worth watching with your bunch of friends on a Friday night sleepover. If you’ve watched Blue Is The Warmest Colour (and loved it as I did) you will find that Appropriate Behaviour is actually a superfluous take on that same film. I don’t know if this comparison has been drawn by anyone else before but certain scenes, dialogues between the lead lesbian couple and arguments brought back distinct flashes of that movie in my mind. Which makes it tough for me to love Appropriate Behaviour as much as I would like to. Nevertheless, a movie that grips me from start to finish, resonates with my personal understanding of human nature and sneaks in a good few laughs is definitely a depiction of good cinema.

Camp X-Ray: Movie Review

Camp X-Ray is an almost masterpiece. It’s almost a good movie which also means it’s not a bad movie at all. There has been such a sudden rise in the number of semi-political indie films that have been coming out lately and they all seem to have that same flow but Camp X-Ray stands out. Just a little bit. I can praise this movie on several ends but I want to be realistic enough to tell you it’s not that great, either. You shouldn’t put down everything you’re doing and watch it right away. I want to openly admit that a certain scene made me weep in that ugly, private way you never want anyone to see. Not that movies don’t make me cry, au contraire, I cry during movies all too easily. I find it difficult to weep for people I actually know, but movie characters get under my skin with great ease. I live most of my life vicariously, bite me.

camp-x-ray-movie-poster I recently shared an excerpt from Roxane Gay’s book of essays Bad Feminist on my Instagram. This is what it said:

“…The man who committed these crimes has blond hair and blue eyes. These details are shared repeatedly in a litany of disbelief. Too many people expected the perpetrator of this crime to have brown skin and a Qur’an because we need to believe that there is only one brand of extremism. This is the world we now live in. We forget compassion. We pretend we are somehow different from those we otherwise condemn…”

I can’t help but wonder how so many instances in my life are such big coincidences. I ventured into Camp X-Ray knowing as little as possible – details about the cast, genre of the movie – and it was actually worth the while. To be able to enjoy a movie with as little adulteration from other people’s opinions is often the best way to be objective. Camp X-Ray is a concise movie in Camp Guantanamo where Muslim jihadists and supposed terrorists are restrained as detainees sometime post 9/11. The movie is mostly filmed from the viewpoint of Amy Cole played by Kristen Stewart who joins the military with the intention of being a part of something bigger than the small town she comes from. Cole doesn’t know what she has landed herself in and finds that things are not just black and white. She develops a peculiar bond with one of the detainees after he constantly jabbers away at her when she’s on duty. Cole and this detainee, Ali Amir played by Payman Maadi are the windows for the audience into both viewpoints. Behind the locked door and outside it. For the first 90 minutes I would say the movie plays out brilliantly. Not too overtly putting across ideas yet offering glimpses and leaving things to imagination. It can just as easily be argued that Camp X-Ray is more about Amy Cole and what she undergoes being a woman soldier than just about the injustice done to a certain type of Muslims, believed to be extremists. download That being said, and now that we have the plot out of the way let me tell you why I love and don’t love the movie. Camp X-Ray is a movie about the terror after the actual terror has passed. It encompasses what many movies have done before but offers a different insight into it. The torture elements are not the highlights of the movie and are so few and far in between that they seem routine prison protocol, really. Even their emergency protocol when a detainee steps out of line involves taking the detainee from pod to pod, cell to cell, all night long for a week by plane. This definitely leaves the detainee disheveled and unable to sleep for that entire week. Yes, that is torture. Yes, like one of the soldiers says, “That’s brutal,” but really, I mean, we know for a fact that what happened in other places at the same time was much worse. Many documentaries and movies have been made about it and sold on just that fact alone. Audiences love a good cry. Audiences love seeing movies like 12 Years A Slave. CampXRay13I love Camp X-Ray obviously because of Payman Maadi. After watching it, I can openly challenge anyone that this man is capable of pulling off absolutely anything thrown his way. I am Team Maadi, forever. This is embarrassing and exhilarating to admit but I could only resist it so much. I love Camp X-Ray even more for Kristen Stewart. What do I say about her that hasn’t already been said before in reference to her Twilight image? I could say, that perhaps, I liked her very much in the Twilight saga but because I reached a certain age where everyone was making fun of the series, I had to cut down my feelings and join the herd. I could also say that I liked Kristen Stewart even before that but it’s hard for me to point why exactly. I can now. Kristen Stewart has long since been pushed around with everyone saying her face lacks expression. She has been ridiculed, used in memes to depict she can’t make one emotion look different than the other and in short, something that the character Bella was supposed to be which everyone suddenly had a problem with when it was portrayed on the big screen. I have wanted to talk about this openly for such a long time now and I feel like this movie opened the floodgates to my repressed opinions. If you’re uninterested about it, you can skip a paragraph. As anyone who read the Twilight love story at the age of 13, I fell in love with the books right away. As someone who grew up way too fast between 14-17 and saw what more can be done with genres like romance and horror, I knew I couldn’t love the series the same way ever again. I knew that it was meant for a certain age group with a certain mindset and I had clearly outgrown it. Why the books appealed so much to girls is because Bella made us feel it was okay to be average. Which is what Kristen Stewart was meant to be on screen. When you take a book which reads in the first person and you make a movie out of it, you simply cannot include countless monologues of this person. You have to draw a line and make your character come alive through their behaviours and interactions and even then you are compromising. So Kristen Stewart got caught up in playing an awkward, unconfident teenager who is being pursued by a very good-looking, gentlemanly vampire. Stewart became the girl most girls identified with but also despised. It was confusing and it took me a while to be done with my obsession with the books and the movies. Kristen received so much flak many years after the movies were done, which I’m not sure I understand entirely. Both the Breaking Dawn installments were remarkably successful at the time and we saw a more meaningful and expressive performance from her as a new-born vampire and mother. Where she went wrong was after these movies. Her choices and the roles she took up only went on to feed the mindset of people that she can only play a certain type of role and in short, cannot act. Some even went as far as to say she bagged the role of Bella Swan through nepotism. Who knows. Camp_x-ray_2795141b In a tough movie such as Camp X-Ray, Kristen Stewart single-handedly hits the ball back onto the court of everything her haters splurged on. She expresses herself in scenes requiring minimal dialogues, she is bare in the sense that you can see that there has been no need for any makeup, she executes one of the most powerful scenes in the movie at the end with such finesse it’s hard to ever believe she was accused of being expressionless. It almost seems as though her acting abilities were on par with Payman Maadi, which is probably the biggest compliment I could hand out to her. There is a scene in the movie where the Captain asks her, “Are you a soldier? Or are you a female soldier?” What Kristen Stewart achieved in this movie is worth noting. Her character demanded her to fit into an environment where on duty she was supposed to be at par with her male counterparts but to be somewhat submissive when they weren’t in uniform. It’s a hard but true fact that this kind of unfairness is a part and parcel of being the gender minority in the military. My problem with the movie is the final crescendo. My bone to pick is that the movie was running at such a good pace and the last few minutes kind of goofed it up. Maybe certain movies need to be brought around full circle – to satisfy the audience, among other things. But that’s the thing about indie movies, sometimes they aren’t required to follow that. I can think of so many better endings. Now that I’ve assimilated all parts of the movie, I can say that the ending need not have been so hopeful. And even then the irony is, a part of the final crescendo moved me to tears and brought me to write this review. I would say, watch Camp X-Ray for the acting and for those sudden breakthrough scenes, but not so much for the plot.

Obvious Child: Movie Review

So much has been said about this movie being a genius take on an abortion-themed romcom. I beg to differ. I would like to plead that Obvious Child is obviously so much more. Give me a chance to explain that in this review.


Obvious Child is easily one of the strongest directorial debut movies I’ve ever seen. I’m all here for the positives but I really need to explain a delusion people are having before I go ahead. Let’s take a second and understand why this movie is being heralded as ‘a cultural landmark’, ‘an honest portrayal of abortion’, and what not. I believe taking the taboo concept of abortion and trying to fit it in the genre of comedy, even romantic-comedy is far too risky. Far too delicate to play with. The first thing that comes to mind is, abortion is unpleasant, whatever may be the circumstances. Secondly, this movie is supposed to be funny? What can possibly be funny about aborting an unborn child? Nothing.

When you watch this movie keeping those thoughts in mind, and you see Obvious Child for what it actually is, I imagine you’d breathe out a sigh of relief. You’ll chide yourself for being ridiculous enough to expect a dark, slapstick comedy about a woman who isn’t prepared for a child, or a man who doesn’t know he got someone pregnant and now she has to go through it alone, or worse; rape pregnancy. When you see how effortlessly the plot unravels, all your apprehensions will fade to black. For the most part, Obvious Child is not about abortion. I cannot fathom why it’s being sold for what it’s not when it’s actually so good and should be recognized for that instead.

000037.2771.ObviousChild_still3_JennySlate__byChrisTeague_2013-11-26_03-01-51PM-1280x960The story follows a twenty-something stand-up comedian named Donna (Jenny Slate) who has a queer teenage sense-of-humour and mostly ends up making jokes about her sex life, her stained underwear and other body parts related clichéd limericks. Donna brings to her act an emotional twist even though her jokes are almost borderline ridiculous. She is completely herself when she’s up there and that’s what nine odd people attending her show in a Brooklyn bar appreciate and enjoy. Donna’s boyfriend – also present at said bar – cannot appreciate having his private sex life being put on display for people to laugh at and breaks up with her. Or that’s the reason he uses while he has already started seeing someone else. Right from this moment, the movie puts you on the edge of your seat because it’s not easy to predict what Donna will say or do next. However, she is like any other twenty year old and drinks and drunk dials and cries herself to sleep with the aid of her best friend. Still no mention of abortions.


After this point, Obvious Child picks up pace as we see more of Donna’s life, her separated parents and her two best friends who sometimes have no boundaries. Donna’s stand-up comedy goes for a toss after her breakup and she is unable to make even poor underwear related jokes. All of this and the fact that the bookstore she’s working at is supposed to shut down only add to her miserable situation. Amidst everything, you see Donna brood, laugh, worry, overreact and it’s all so endearing. You almost want to hug her and tell her that it happens to everyone at some point and she’s actually doing pretty well considering everything going on. So when Donna meets a really nice guy at the bar, you have no problem when he wants to take her home. Even when they both are drunk and peeing on the road, really. Never before have I found this to be funny and don’t think I’m being morbid but halfway through the movie and there’s still no sign of a pregnancy much less a damn abortion. And I’m really enjoying the movie at this point and even laughing out loud, which is a rare but good sign.

Fairly predictable is the one-night stand and Donna’s reluctance at getting into anything further with the boy named Max who is albeit, too eager to get to know Donna’s hilarity. It’s adorable that Max is very much the opposite of her cheating ex-boyfriend, but it’s also rough that he’s the one who gets her pregnant. Leaving her with no choice but to visit the doctor and say something on the lines, “I would like an abortion, please!” as though she is ordering food at a drive-through.


What follows next are the simple and cute interactions between Max trying to woo Donna who is all too afraid and confused about someone being this nice to her. Not forgetting that she is scheduled to abort his child on February 14th and intends on keeping it a secret from him. Irony in this movie is immense but completely enjoyable. All in all, the movie takes a cutesy turn towards the end as Donna figures out how to deal with herself, her decisions and her love life. It’s amazing how she goes back on stage and makes fun of herself for getting into a mess. Again, Max who happens to turn up at the bar is not pleased to find out about this through her act and walks out of the bar. However, Donna is not perturbed this time as she knows how she feels about this and what’s right for her. How well she does on stage is an indication at how well she handles things that are not so right in her life. Her act goes pretty well despite mentions of an abortion and she has her shit together now. Figuratively and comically, of course.


Obvious Child is a movie that got promoted on a concept it wasn’t entirely intending to depend on. Yes, the movie handles the subject of abortion quite smartly. There are some brilliant depictions of the crisis Donna faces, for example, when she equates the amount required to get an abortion to her one month’s rent. Men like Max are not made-up, fairy tale princes but they do exist and sometimes they don’t know how to do the right thing, right away but they come around eventually. When you consider the fact that there is so much more to this movie it seems almost demeaning to hail it as simply ‘an abortion comedy’ on the lines of Knocked Up or Juno. The fact that the title of the movie was based on a Paul Simon song is enough to convince me that the makers of this film have more depth, understanding and insight than they are being incorrectly, if not unfairly credited for.

The Beauty Inside: Mini-Series

“Being good-looking opens doors. No matter who you are. They say it’s whats on the inside that counts. It’s kinda hard to count when nobody can see your insides.”

While I am waiting ever so patiently for Drake Doremus’ 2013 Sundance selection ‘Breathe In’ to hit the big screen, I sat down to re-watch his mini-series ‘The Beauty Inside’. Just as ‘Like Crazy‘ leaves me in a highly strung emotional daze, Drake’s mini-series collaboration with Intel and Toshiba ‘The Beauty Inside’ helps me to calm my nerves and simply…smile.

A six episode series which would take you about an hour to watch, The Beauty Inside is about a man named Alex who has a condition where he wakes up in a different body every single day ever since he can remember. He works with antiques and nonetheless because of his condition, does not have any stable relationships. The concept was pretty intriguing from the start and the voice-over done by Topher Grace just gives it the added charm. Although I do wish they’d shown more of him. The eye-candy undoubtedly is Mary Elizabeth Winstead who I daresay, is absolutely flawless in every way. Alex, till now has lead an emotionally incompetent life comprising of one-night stands and his only companion, his Toshiba Ultrabook. But as soon as he meets Leah, he makes the classic mistake of all time, he falls in love. The combination of Drake Doremus and Dustin O’Halloran again after Like Crazy, gives the mini-series a magical soundtrack. Some tunes which played were already on my playlist beforehand and it just gave me goosebumps.

What’s still unique about this social film is that almost anyone from around the world could audition to be one of Alex’s daily incarnations by submitting videos of themselves via the film’s Facebook page. If you’d get exceptionally lucky, a short but actual on-screen role would be your prize.

Must say, a marketing strategy done all too well by Intel and Toshiba and to have persons working at the superlative in their respective fields like Drake Doremus and Dustin O’Halloran on their project, it is surely a treat for people like me.

P.S. My favourite episode is #3. Won’t be too hard to guess why.

That’s it for now.

Like Crazy: Movie Review

As I am writing this review there are some things I am going to blatantly put out there for you to know well in advance.
1. I have the song “Dead Hearts” (soundtrack of Like Crazy) on repeat.

2. I have just finished watching this movie for the 4th time.

3. I wish there was some way I could watch this movie again for the 1st time.

4. I am an emotional sap and sucker for movies which show love in its rawest form.

5. I am also realistic enough to know that there are two types of movies in the romance genre:

i) The movies that leave you dumbfounded at the enormity of how much two people can love each other and somehow always beat the odds in about 127 minutes screen time.

ii) Then the other type of movies which leave you gripping on to your heart and make you mash your teeth together and feel that unrequited love is probably the only love that exists in the real world. Period.

Like Crazy is ‘the other type of movie’.

I stumbled on to this movie in 2012. A year for me which marks a lot of unrequited emotions, long hauling stretches without any semblance of normal, perplexing situations, weird and wonderful people. While watching this movie I could somehow put all of this away. Far away. In some corner of my mind where nothing matters. For an over-thinker that is truly something.

Like Crazy is a 2011 American romantic drama film, shot with an inexpensive DSLR camera. Its budget did not exceed $250,000. The film won the 2011 Sundance Film Festival ‘Grand Jury Prize’. Already I am drifting away to what is not really important.

So anyway, this is the story of Anna and Jacob. This is the story of most young adults. People in love. People in long-distance love. It is the kind of movie which brings up things you have faced in your life or will most definitely in the future. Now that is something every other movie tries to portray. But what sets this film apart is the honesty in this couple which shines outright and blinds you to tears. Felicity Jones plays Anna, a British college student in Los Angeles who falls for an American, Jacob, played by Anton Yelchin. When the term ends for the summer, so does Anna’s student visa. They are well aware that the sensible thing would be for her to go home, and wait just a few months while she gets the cash to come back with the proper documentation. But a few months is a long time when you’re in your early 20s, so Anna and Jacob defy the visa law and with it follows a glorious summer of love and sex. It is a decision that affects the rest of both their lives.

It also leads you to wonder, what would have happened had she not broken the visa limit. But I will get to that later. Not right now, later.

Right from when Anna pours out her feelings to Jacob in a letter filled with the things you can only feel for someone you are crazily crushing on to appearing dignified, by using e.e. cummings and a post-script giving disclaimer that she isn’t a psychopathic nutcase. Anna’s parents bring comic relief and class to scenes that would otherwise be painful. The soundtrack to most scenes where no dialogue is required will leave you enthralled. These are moments that stay with you long after that phase of Anna and Jacob’s life has passed.

The rush of emotions felt by the two will sweep over you and leave you feeling absolutely frustrated and used up in a bittersweet way. The movie made me feel that you can never love someone enough. There’s always some part of you which is waiting to fall more in love with this person; oh and never, NEVER to underestimate this ‘part’.

When Anna is detained and unable to return to Jacob due to her visa issue, it brings an unwanted distance in a lovely 20-something fairy-tale romance. Here is when the movie gets so real, good God! When both of them, get involved in their careers, the missed calls due to time variations, the ache of not knowing what your other half is doing, all this growing like an elephant in the room.

With this starts the on-off relationship. Jacob once mentions that he just doesn’t feel like he is part of Anna’s life but he feels like he’s on vacation. Here is where Anna lets out the cat (or should I say elephant?) out of the bag. She suggests that they should try seeing other people when they are away. Although that upsets Jacob, deep down he knows he has considered it too.

Their relationship circle widens now. They are tangled more than ever in people they don’t love, but cannot leave. This movie is not about finding ‘The One’. If it was, this wouldn’t have happened. It also signifies that after falling in love for the first time, no matter how good or bad it was, you are never the same with anyone. So one night in the respite and lulls of physical and emotional temptations, Anna calls up Jacob and asks him to marry her.

For someone who doesn’t believe in love, that would be absolutely absurd considering they were both involved with other people. But then again, refer to point #4 stated ‘well in advance’.

The movie transcends further into how Anna and Jacob are still the same even after marriage. Here is when I thought about those tiny gifts they had exchanged over their first summer of love. For some reason I even noticed the very subtle changes in their appearances, behaviours, the phones they used. I thought about how much uncertainty they had laid in front of them back in that summer. And yet they got married. Shouldn’t the movie end now? At least that’s what is rationally supposed to happen.

But no, the movie extends further (I was so glad it did!). The movie does not end. It is this part of the movie I absolutely loved. It is not easy to please hopeless romantics and the skeptic pessimists. We will never be able to figure out what happens when Anna steps out of the shower. But we are free to dream about it. To wonder that life is a never-ending love story and all you got to do is live it out.

When you watch this film, you may feel like you’re eavesdropping rather than watching a movie. And I mean that in the best possible sense. Not every director can bring out such performances in actors whose unfamiliar faces we aren’t already in love with. Why was I not surprised when I found out that this movie was filmed without a script?

Only then can such untraditional beauty and rawness be achieved:

“I thought I understood it, that I could grasp it. But I didn’t, not really. Only the smudgeness of it; the pink-slippered, all-containered, semi-precious eagerness of it. I didn’t realize it would sometimes be more than whole, that the wholeness was a rather luxurious idea. Because it’s the halves that halve you in half. I didn’t know, don’t know, about the in-between bits; the gory bits of you, and the gory bits of me.”

Go. Devour.