Eli (Michael Patrick Nicholson) has hit rock bottom. Within only just a few hours, he finds himself homeless, jobless and dumped. It’s the perfect time for a fresh start then. And that’s when he meets Anya (Chelsea Lopez) through her boyfriend Kyle (Michael Godere). Eli finds himself drawn to her and his attraction seems to be reciprocated, but it’s only when they discover that they both like to eat their hair, when they really fall for each other. But it only takes a few days for things to spiral out of control.
Are We Not Cats did not work for me at all. The pacing was off and the ending pushed the film from slightly boring, but not uninteresting to absolutely ridiculous in no time at all.
Even though I was willing to go along with the film and its characters for a while, the film’s pacing always made me stumble. At first everything felt really slow although the events in the film unfolded at a very quick pace, spanning only a few days. And then after everything moving sluggishly for a while, suddenly the film speeds up and the happy end comes too fast for me to be able to believe it.
But it wasn’t just the pacing that kept me from going along with the ending. Anya’s trichophagia is so severe, a clot of hair builds up in her intestines that is ultimately life-threatening. Eli contacts emergency services and they tell him to do nothing and that they’re on their way to get Anya to an operating room. And what does Eli do? He operates on Anya himself. Of course he has no medical training or remotely sanitary conditions to do it, but heroics. And when Anya finally comes to in the hospital, she is overjoyed.
Eli’s blatant disregard for Anya’s safety because he can’t stand the wait until the emergency crew arrives is painted as romantic instead of threatening. If I was Anya I’d kick him out so hard, that he wouldn’t dare to approach me ever again. And then I get myself into psychiatric care to get my hair-eating under control.
That turn of events wasn’t only questionable, problematic and infuriating, it destroyed all the emotional set-up that managed to get through to me despite the film’s slow pace (mostly thanks to Nicholson’s performance who manages to get what can be gotten from a slightly pathetic stereotype like Eli). That meant that I left the film with a distinct dislike for it.
Summarizing: nah, skip it.