By Jan Hamilton
Director: Natalie Morales, Screenwriters: Mark Duplass, Natalie Morales, Producer: Mel Eslyn
A Spanish teacher and her student develop an unexpected friendship. Cast List: Natalie Morales, Mark Duplass, Desean Terry, Christine Quesada
Adam and Will are a couple who live together in relative wealth in Oakland. Will works. Adam stays at home. Will buys Adam two years of virtual Spanish lessons. The teacher, Carino, is in Costa Rica. Almost immediately Will is struck by a car while jogging, and dies. The lessons stop, they exchange videos, hers of sympathy, his of how he is feeling. The videos are helpful, friendly, then later jokes and fun. The video chat lessons resume.
Adam tends to try to pry into her life, in a friendly way, but Carino insists they stay on track with the lessons. Some months later she appears to have been beaten up, she won’t discuss it, claiming she fell off her bike. He is doubtful. Eventually she reveals what she is hiding. She insists they are not friends and that her troubles are not his concern. He disagrees; however, he assures they are friends. The resolution revolves around her acceptance or rejection of that friendship.
Natalie Morales both stars and directs what is basically a two person film, told through their video conversations. Both she and Duplass wrote the screenplay. With the world coming off of it’s year of isolation, it is easy to identify with the premise of people connected only through the internet. This is an extremely touching and human film that I recommend highly. Here’s hoping for more good things to come from Ms. Morales.