Greetings again from the darkness. Childhood friends are the best. Sharing your inner most thoughts and goofy actions before the emotional self-defense shields of adult life kick in create some of the best memories we will make. That moment when those childhood friends try to force a romantic connection – and it fails miserably – is not just an awkward moment, but also a life-changing one. Liza (Zoe Worth) and Eli (Alden Ehrenreich) share just such a moment … and their friendship changes immediately, even though they don’t admit it for a few years.
The film bounces around from Liza and Eli’s high school days, to leaving for college, to a break from school, and finally 4 years later. They are the kind of friends who speak in code and have their own hand signals to communicate. Really, they are pretty normal except that for lack of mingling with other friends. And by pretty normal I mean they are actually kind of boring. You know the kind of boring where someone thinks they are way more interesting than they really are? That’s Liza and Eli.
On the bright side, we don’t get too many movies that play out like a hidden camera is following two friends. It feels like we are watching Liza and Eli come to grips with the first steps of adult life – and they don’t seem to like it all that much. Again, that’s pretty normal. This coming of age process includes family parties, quirky little road trips, sexual tension, tent camping to unwind, spontaneous dodge ball, carpooling (and more) with a school friend-turned-weed-dealer (Zachary Webber), dreams of a Labradoodle, and yes, even ukulele music (on more than occasion).
There are some elements in this film from writer/director Melanie Shaw that remind me of the very fine indie gem Once (2006) and even the classic The Graduate (1967). We can certainly relate to Liza and Eli envisioning themselves as a modern day Bonnie and Clyde couple – minus the gunplay, and we have all felt that moment, and cracked that smile, when someone says … “I just wanted to look at you”.