Tuesday, December 7, 2010

#43-Breaking Upwards (2009)

Breaking Upwards

Breaking Upwards, now my favorite film of the Mumblecore movement is also one of the most true to the definition. The film, about the hardships of relationships on twentysomethings these days, takes a really tired and cliched plot and makes rather interesting, and what makes it so, is knowing that what actually goes on did really happen. The story is taken from a true experience between stars Daryl Wein and Zoe Lister-Jones, about their breakup, and what they tried to do to come back together.

The story happened between star, co-writer, director, co-producer and editor Daryl Wein, and star, co-writer, co-producer Zoe Jones who found their relationship in a bit of a slump. To try and jump start things again they decide to take "off days" where they only see each other four days a week, and are not allowed to speak to or see each other the other three. They then change the rules to allow the relationship to be open on off-days, and often encourage each other to ask out other people. An interesting idea, but as you watch the the film you realize that it does have some pretty obvious negatives, but some really great positives.

Firstly, because it is based on a true story, and has the actors playing themselves, this all feels like it could really happen in your town, with people you know. There are great little touches and things that add to the authenticity, such as whenever they meet when biking they 'helmet bump' which you see in the trailer. When they first decide to have an open relationship Daryl asks: 'what should I change my facebook status too?' And its all things that really do happen, such as an early scene where they are both eating breakfast together, but are texting different people at the same time. It is an incredibly, and almost painfully, honest look at the way modern society has effected realationships, both for better and worse.

Both Daryl and Zoe give incredibly strong performances (granted as themselves) and because they really did have a realtionship, there is some incredible chemistry there. The film is boasted by some impressive minor characters played by the great Andrea Martin, Julie White, and Olivia Thrilby. Some of the lines that come out during Zoe and Daryl's fights are really kind of heartbreaking because they say things that make sense. Things that people do often feel in realtionships, and things that we face everyday.

The films only problem comes toward the end, when the climax happens. It walks a very fine line between being really, really honestly sad, and just cliched and theatrical. But I think the way its played out leans it toward the former, and allows what happens to make sense, even though the story may have been embellished a little for the screen. Shot on digital video, the most popular format for independent cinema, it looks really good with all its imperfections. For films like this and other independent cinema, I really dig the shakey, handheld, unpolished filming style, it gives everything that happens a sense that its grounded in reality, and that based on these characters actions the plot unfolds, instead of having the plot forced on the characters. Another great aspect is the soundtrack composed by Kyle Forester. Its got hipster tunes that are just hipster enough that feel cool listening to them, but not so much that you feel you're being ironic. I know it sounds weird but its very true, the film has a great soundtrack, with all the songs having been written by Zoe as production went along.

I may be impartial to this film because it depicts the era of realtionships that I grew up, and am still growing up in. I never got a chance to experience things that happen in the great romances of the 30's. That way of life is just foreign to me, and I don't understand how it worked without being able to IM people or send them texts all the time, and I think that breaking upwards makes a good point, that our connections to people have been lessened because of all these diffrerent forms of media we are allowed to communicate to them through 24/7. Making real-life interaction seem less imporant than it was back then, and really is still today

If you can't tell by now, I just loved this film to death. Its honest, and thats the best thing about it. While cinema is mostly escapism sometimes it is just good to see the truth on screen and realize that other people do go through the same thing you do, and people that are in movies. Great writing, excellent direction, solid performances, and a great score make this something that really is to be experienced. It's not easy to find on DVD or in theatres, but it is avalible to watch on Netflix's instant service, and if you subscribe to Netflix this is definatly one to check watch, and if you don't I highly, highly, recommend that you seek this out.

I Give Breaking Upwards A:

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