A Little Closer (2011)

A Little Closer
Director: Matthew Petock
Writer: Matthew Petock
Cast: Sayra Player, Parker Lutz, Eric Baskerville, Chris Kies, Catherine Andre
Part of: Viennale

Plot:
Single mom Sheryl (Sayra Player) lives with her two sons Marc (Parker Lutz) and Stephen (Eric Baskerville). Summer is about to start. Marc will work in an auto repair shop, while Eric has to go to summer school. But what actually keeps all three of them occupied is their search for love: Sheryl visits the regular single’s night, Marc tries to get it on with his first girlfirend Joanna (Catherine Andre) and Stephen has a crush on his teacher.

A Little Closer did not work for me. When it didn’t make me frown, it mostly left me cold.

[TRIGGER WARNING (rape) and SPOILERS]

The movie opens with Marc accidentally drilling into Stephen’s eye. It’s a very tense scene and very well done, but I never got how it was actually connected to the rest of the movie. It felt out of place – like it was a remnant from a very different draft of the script. And I kinda wished we had gotten to see the rest of that film instead of the movie we got.

The biggest issues I had were with Marc’s storyline. He gets pretty much riled up by an extremely inappropriate, much older co-worker who feeds him misogynistic crap about how you can buy sex if you just give women jewellery. Which Marc promptly tries out on his girlfriend who gives in when she receives what she thinks is a family heirloom ring. They start sleeping with each other, but the pain gets too much for Joanna and she asks Marc to stop, which he doesn’t do. Instead he finishes, then says thank you and leaves her crying. The next morning she is gone and has left the ring behind. Marc returns it to his mother’s jewellery box (where he stole it from) and everything is back to normal for him.
The problematic thing for me about it was not exactly how the story went – I mean as all Marc ever heard about love and sex was misogynistic shit, no wonder he ends up raping his first girlfriend – and doesn’t even notice that that’s what he’s doing. But a little perspective shift would have been very good. Especially since I wasn’t exactly sure whether Matthew Petock actually noticed what he had written there. And the way the audience reacted, (laughing at Marc’s thank you), I don’t think they noticed either.

I just wanted it to get a bit more into the female perspective of things. Especially since both Sayra Player and Catherine Andre were great. Player’s Sheryl generally was the best thing about the film and I could have done with a whole lot more of her.

Instead we got a film that grew longer and longer (despite its actually rather short runtime) and that I just couldn’t connect with.

Summarising: Maybe if I had been a boy at some point in my life. But even then I seriously doubt that I would have liked it.

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