So many of us are brilliant actors in our everyday lives. There is a fine line between what everyone expects our lives to be like and actual happiness. More often than not we’re giving into the these expectations without fully contemplating the consequences. Poor choices lead to the need to subconsciously push back by making even more terrible decisions. It’s easier to bullshit everyone. In the new film X/Y, we’re thrown the perfect examples of shitty decision making skills. Four people, all living life on the edge of falling apart. When do any of us ever realized enough is enough?
Silvia ( America Ferrara) and Mark’s (Ryan Piers Williams) marriage is crisis. She is an overworked exec while he is a screenwriter getting knocked around by movie studio requisite. With the stress of their careers and lost connections, both lash out in different ways. Jen (Melonie Diaz) is Silvia’s little sister. Jobless, irresponsible, a serial dater with a throw away attitude, which in truth, masks fear to move forward. And then there’s Jake (Jon Paul Phillips). Best friend to Mark, he has just gotten out of a long term relationship and is completely lost, or maybe he is the sanest of all. These four young people living and loving in New York are quintessential examples of the fumbling we all do at some point in our lives. Living beyond our means, emotionally. We’re so busy judging one another to avoid dealing with our own issues. What’s that old saying? “It’s easy to give advice. Harder to take the advice you give, yourself.” Every generation struggles through a period of trying to define who we are. We’re so busy filling our lives with meaningless material possessions, rather than meaningful conversations. Running is easy. Fixing is much harder.
There were some serious risks in making this film. Written, directed, and starring Ryan Piers Williams is the first. Second, casting your own wife can certainly be a roll of the dice. Ryan and America Ferrera have been married to each other since 2011. Third, writing hot and heavy sex scenes for said wife and Common is a whole other beast altogether. At the very least, I will say it takes balls. While the film is a slow burn for me, it is an extraordinarily accurate portrait of all the distractions available to us in the city. Sometimes, when life feels overwhelming, doing nothing at all seems like the best option. On the opposite end spectrum, doing too much can be just the right drug we need. Choose your weapon.
I must give an hand to Diaz and Phillips. While we all know each of these characters, there is something so elegant in their particular performances as Jen and Jake. It’s the quiet moments that grab you. You can feel the wheels turning. Their flaws are palpable and your empathize immediately, without wanting to. Diaz has been around for some time now and never disappoints. She is always immensely accessible in her performances. This is only Phillips‘ third feature, but I feel as if I have seen him for years. He has a likability I cannot describe. You both love and hate this character at times and for me, that is incredibly intriguing. I want to see more of him, please.
X/Y comes to theaters Friday March 6th.