The Boy Downstairs stars Zosia Mamet (“Girls”) as Diana, a twenty-something writer who moves back to New York City after a two-year stint in London. Upon finding the perfect apartment in Brooklyn, she realizes her downstairs neighbor is actually her ex-boyfriend Ben (Matthew Shear, Mistress America) whose heart she broke when she left town. After an awkward reunion, Diana proclaims her intentions for a genuine friendship. But as old wounds are opened, both Diana and Ben are forced to confront the true nature of their feelings.
Mamet gives a deliciously sardonic lean to the role that is funny and honest. The manic ways of Shoshanna Shapiro are nowhere in site. This should put Mamet on some serious casting lists. First-time writer-director Sophie Brooks shows us how a person can have a hold on your soul years after parting ways. The script is really smart and refreshing. It doesn’t glamorize the requisite navigation through adult relationships, those messy, real-life moments are the little things that stick with us in the end. Reality is much more awkward and The Boy Downstairs does not shy away from confrontation or feelings. It allows the audience to reflect on their own past emotional conflicts and in this film’s particular case, flashback sequences are the backbone of the plot. Strong performances from Matthew Shear and Dierdre O’Connell make The Boy Downstairs what it is. The chemistry is astounding. Being a grownup is complicated enough, so once you introduce the complexities of love and friendship, all hell will break loose, even if it’s a quiet thing. You can see The Boy Downstairs in theaters today.