After a loved one falls ill, 25 year old struggling comedian Emily Martin returns to her college town of Austin, Texas and must come to terms with her past while staying with her ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend.
Sharing a small apartment with his sleepy French bulldog, an unmotivated thirty-something slacker lands a job at a Quick Lube, to be close to the shop's beautiful manager. Has he found a new purpose in life? Is there still hope?
Set in the early 1990's, "As You Are" is the telling and retelling of a relationship between three teenagers as it traces the course of their friendship through a construction of disparate memories prompted by a police investigation.
Maybe it's because I'm in the same age-range as director Robert Schwartzman..and because I'm also a white male musician. But this movie resonates more with me than anything I've seen in years! It's the only film I can remember within the past 10 years with an emotional resonance akin to the classic John Hughes films in the 80's. Excellent directing, casting, cinematography, sound-tracking choices make this a supremely enjoyable viewing experience.
Yes, yes the reference point I keep seeing is The Graduate. Rightfully so. But Dreamland breathes new life into that premise quite well thanks to outstanding performances from Johnny Simmons as the boyish, awkward & oblivious Monty and Amy Landecker as the sexy, wealthy, married older-woman Olivia.
I have to wonder if the role was written specifically for Simmons, because I can't imagine another modern actor doing justice to this role the way he does. Additionally, Landecker is unbelievably sexy throughout, and gives a very convincing and even subtly emotional performance that does more to service the role of the older mistress than Anne Bancroft was able to portray as Mrs. Robinson.
Also worth mentioning are excellent supporting performances from Frankie Shaw as Liz, Alan Ruck as Walter, Beverly D' Angelo as Marie, Jason Schwartzman as Peter, and Nick Thune as Jason the plumber. Specifically Schwartzman and Thune bring their strong comedic talents to the table! I've found myself quoting both of these characters in day to day life..great writing, great performances!
Lastly, the sound-tracking to this film is impeccable. Robert Schwartzman's background in music really shines throughout Dreamland. The ambient pieces are beautiful and tie things together nicely. Theme song "Sad But True" is an EXCELLENT and potentially classic piece of songwriting. The use of Classixx's moody masterpiece "Borderline" as a theme throughout does the film does great service.
This film might not be for everyone, but I can't say enough good things about it! Looking forward to future projects from Robert Schwartzman. I'd love to see him become this generation's John Hughes.
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