SXSW 2018 Review: UNLOVABLE

South By Southwest is always home to a couple of tense, upsetting and even some films that test us with its running time. However, in a festival of such films, it is nice to see a brisk 79 minute comedy featuring two lovely actors to balance everything out, like UNLOVABLE.

The film follows Joy (Charlotte deGuzman, who is also the co writer of this semi-biographical tale), a young woman who, when she discovers she is a sex addict starts taking a recurring 12 step program. She gets a sponsor through this program, Maddie (Melissa Leo). Maddie gives joy permission to stay at her guest house if she promises to stop her bad habits, and there she meets music-loving Jim (John Hawkes). Jim has always wanted to be in a band, and as Joy becomes a drummer for Jim, she gets to learn a bit about herself and learns about the benefits of a platonic relationship.

The true definition of a platonic comedy, UNLOVABLE balances excellent chemistry between its leads, great music and a lovely script to pull audiences in. Charlene deGuzman, internet celebrity, truly shines here. deGuzman is known for her writing and acting, and has worked on various viral shorts, with much of her brilliant and quirky style contributing to the film, for instance, in the incredibly innovative short DRUM-OFF.

The way that deGuzman incorporates personal experience and her immense creativity into the film’s style and story is something truly unique, and does an impeccable job of giving off a sense of irresistible likability. The always brilliant John Hawkes is endlessly charming as well, as a character that was described as “clinically awkward” by the SXSW programmers.

It is extremely difficult to talk about UNLOVABLE without putting a focus on how great the two leads are, as they really make or break this film. This is a character piece if nothing else, and the movie works well with the way the actors construct their characters. The way director Suzi Yoonesi and co-writer Mark Duplass tie this extremely sharp story around these people is utter brilliance.

This simple, brisk and delightful film NEEDS your attention, and it would be a travesty if this film didn’t get a release. Unlike the title may make it seem, UNLOVABLE is lovely.

Rating: 8.5/10

UNLOVABLE is currently seeking worldwide distribution.

 

 

 

 

 

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