Watching this movie, right from the start, gave me an unnatural desire to film my own short or feature film. Something about seeing the low-fi digital effect of the film and the natural, low-key acting really grounded this quirky and against-the-grain film. I’ve seen the word “mumblecore” attached to “Duplass” many times now, and I’m still not certain what that all entails, but I’ve loved all of their movies and this one is no exception. But what is exceptional about this film is the “figure-it-out-as-we-go” feel to it, because it ties in so well with what is happening on-screen—the chaos, the indifference, the awkwardness, the anger—but what is so strange and endearing is the love I could feel the filmmakers and actors had in this road movie.
“I’m sorry I tackled you.”
The setup is this: Josh is about to embark on a solo road trip to pick up an exact replica he bought on Ebay of the puffy chair his father used to own to give it to him as a surprise birthday gift, but after some ‘convincing,’ he decides to take his longtime girlfriend along with for a little getaway. Their relationship is heartfelt but clearly strained—Emily knows what she wants and says it, while Josh seems to just accept the way things are, without saying much at all. Which is what this film seems to be all about—repressed thoughts and feelings—because the more they put off their conversations about the future, and about their love, the longer time they have together. They seem to know things are doomed between them, and picking up Josh’s brother Rhett along the way only acted as a catalyst. Rhett saw the puffy chair as the source of all the bad feelings, when actually it is what finally lifted the veil on a failed relationship. But is it a failed relationship? They clearly have deep feelings for one another, and in the end scene, we can see how that will live on despite them moving on. Good art imitates life. Life doesn’t end in a cute little bow with all of the loose ends tied up—there are always more conflicts and problems to deal with—and this film is great.