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Anyone usually does — but most people are not capable of sustaining a mood and a relationship between their two leads as Greta Gerwig and Joe Swanberg do in .
They co-wrote and co-directed, play the leads Mattie and James respectively; although Swanberg has written and directed several films as well as an online TV series, Gerwig never acted professionally before last year’s attitude to onscreen nudity and sexual content.
Any film that makes sure to show equal amounts of male and female nudity has a head start with me.
But even the smallest European art house movies go to some trouble to show the wider world their characters inhabit.
Richard Linklater’s famously has a young couple spending the night walking and talking, but that film was squarely located in a city.
While James lives in Chicago and Mattie in New York, we see almost nothing of their homes, much less their neighborhood.
shows two brief weekends in their long-distance relationship.
The third act takes place a year later, after they have split up, when James comes to New York on a business trip.
What we see of their relationship is sex, chatting, awkward dinners, sniping, and tears at the airport.
Their interactions are very real, and the naturalist dialogue doesn’t sound scripted, with plenty of repetition, deviation and hesitation — what better way to show the falseness of most scripted work.
But the tight focus on these two people does cross the line from careful attention into claustrophobic narcissism.