Review: ‘ADULT LIFE SKILLS’ finds humor in overwhelming darkness.

ADULT LIFE SKILLS 

**Winner of 2016 Tribeca Film Festival’s Nora Ephron Prize**

Anna (Jodie Whittaker) is comfortable living in her mom’s garden shed making funny videos all day, but as she approaches 30, she starts feeling the pressure to move on and “grow up” without compromising her youthful spirit.

There is something whimsical about Adult Life Skills that takes hold of your heart. Jodie Whittaker plays Anna, a woman on the brink of turning thirty living in the backyard shed of her family’s home. Attempting to hold on tight to her childhood, she pushes back on growth as she is still reeling from the death of her twin brother. Reliving her relationship through the wonderfully absurd movies they created together for their website, Anna reluctantly takes a lonely neighbor boy (whose mother is dying of what we presume to be cancer) under her wing. Through his growing attachment, she learns to assess her emotional journey and come to terms with her reality. Whittaker is charming and honest. Each beat has depth and humor under the very real sadness. The surrounding ensemble of female family and friends pushes Adult Life Skills to the next level of indie darling. It’s a creative film version of depression. It delves into the mind of sadness with a visually interesting and fully uniquely fleshed out storyline The soundtrack is catchy and haunting as hell. On the whole, Adult Life Skills is simply lovely.

In Theaters and On Demand January 18, 2019 

Starring: Jodie Whittaker (“Doctor Who”) and Edward Hogg (“Harlots,” “Misfits”)

Written & Directed by: Rachel Tunnard

Review: ‘Literally, Right Before Aaron’ takes the cake.

 LITERALLY, RIGHT BEFORE AARON

There is always that one questionable guest at a wedding. You might think to yourself, “How the Hell did they get invited and who do they know?” In the case of the new rom-com, LITERALLY, RIGHT BEFORE AARON, turns out the Bride invited him.

 

Synopsis: Still reeling from his breakup, Adam (Justin Long) is devastated when he learns that his ex (Cobie Smulders) is engaged. What’s worse is he’s invited to the wedding. When Adam returns home for the festivities, he must confront his unresolved feelings and an uncertain future in hopes of convincing himself and everyone else that he is truly happy for her. There he discovers the comedy in romance, the tragedy of letting go and the hard truth about growing up.

Justin Long has always been on my radar as far back as I can remember. His comic timing and boyish charm are pretty hard to compete with onscreen. This is no less true in his role as Adam. On screen for the entirety of the film, Long’s emotional journey is written both within the quippy dialogue and all over his face. Funny, heartbreaking, endearing, and relatable, there isn’t an audience member out there that won’t find something earnest to latch onto. While familiar sounding in plot, I never found the script cliche’ thanks to writer/director Ryan Eggold. Showcasing solid performances from Cobie Smulders, Kristen Schaal, John Cho, and Ryan Hansen, Literally, Right Before Aaron marries our own insecurities with the emotional roller-coaster that is love. For Eggold, it’s merely the beginning of a long career at the helm of a film. For Long, it’s further proof he’s being underestimated in the industry.
You can catch the film in theaters and on VOD this Friday.

In Theaters and On Demand September 29, 2017

Starring: Justin Long, Cobie Smulders, Ryan Hansen, John Cho, Kristen Schaal, Dana Delany, Peter Gallagher, Lea Thompson, and Luis Guzmán

Written, Edited and Directed by: Ryan Eggold