In watching the Golden Globes last night, it became abundantly clear to me that I’m a bit out of touch with the mainstream. I don’t think I’ve seen any of the movies nominated, and only a handful of the television shows. To be fair, a lot of the nominated films haven’t been released yet (or just saw limited release at independent theaters).
And as for the rest of the movies, seeing them in the theater would involve, well, actually going to the theater. The last time I went to the theater was to see Guardians of the Galaxy, and the jerk sitting next to me got really catty when I asked him to stop checking the baseball score and put away his phone. He proceeded to laugh like a deranged donkey throughout the film and intentionally sat his icy cold bottle of water on my leg a few times for good measure.
I much prefer cozying up to a nice quiet streaming session in the comfort of my own home. I’m patient enough that I can wait until movies are released for home viewing, and between Netflix, Amazon Prime and HBO GO, the odds are good I’ll eventually be able to watch whatever it is I’m looking to see.
This past week I’ve been drawn to a category of stories that can best be described as bizarre romance. In each of these films there is a small element of the supernatural wrapped very gingerly inside the natural progression of a relationship. As someone who has issues with suspension of disbelief, I found this approach quite refreshing and wholly enjoyable to watch.
Frequencies is set within an alternate reality where all human beings emit a frequency that determines their place in the world. People with higher frequencies are, in a sense, more closely attuned with the natural order of things. This makes them not only more intelligent but also luckier. I love how matter-of-fact their understanding of frequencies is. Your frequency is like your blood type – you are born with it and it will never change.
The story isn’t really about frequencies though, not exactly. It’s a commentary on all sorts of topics, including (but not limited to) class, upward mobility, innovation and fate, all woven into several relationships, both platonic and romantic. The movie has flaws, but overall it hits a lot of nails on their collective heads with humor and grace.
In Your Eyes follows the lives of two strangers as they realize they have a telepathic bond. Each is able not only to see what the other is currently seeing, but also feel through the other’s touch and even talk to the other. Even though this seems like it would be a difficult pill to swallow, they accept the reality of it very easily, which makes it easier in turn for you as the viewer to accept it as well.
The pace is very slow and deliberate, but much to my surprise I didn’t mind that at all. I found myself completely entranced by their conversations, to the point where I was literally on the edge of my seat, leaning toward the television. (Yes, I know how strange that sounds, but it’s true.)
Oh, and in case this description wasn’t enough to catch your interest, the film was written by Joss Whedon.
The One I Love is by far my favorite of the bunch. I’m not going to say much about it here, because I don’t want to give anything away (rest assured, the above trailer is spoiler-free) but suffice it to say that it perfectly balances comedy and drama. Mark Duplass (of Safety Not Guaranteed, another film I adore) and Elisabeth Moss knock it out of the park as a couple who go on a weekend retreat in an attempt to reconnect.
It’s the first movie in a long time that made me sad Netflix doesn’t let you give half-star ratings. If I could, I would have given it 4.5 stars (I considered 5, but there were a handful of predictable plot points that made me change my mind).