I am on record as saying that the perfect rom-com has already been done, and it’s the parody They Came Together. The perfect “dream girl” movie has also already been done, which was last year’s The Big Sick. And everyone knows that the tropes are passé and cliché, so instead it’s all about changing things up. Recently I saw two different indie rom/com/dramas and they took very different tacks. This one goes pseudo-creepy and odd, and comes up the better for it.
Entanglement comes from director Jason James and focuses on awkward white guy Ben (Thomas Middleditch, known for playing awkward white guys). At the start of the movie, Ben attempts to commit suicide, but is interrupted in the middle by a delivery guy and makes a full recovery. We soon learn he is suffering from a traumatic breakup with his ex-girlfriend, and then his father suffers a near fatal heart attack.
This is when his parents reveal that Ben almost had a sister — they had intended to adopt a girl, but at the last minute Ben’s mother was pregnant, so the girl never came to them. So Ben decides on a quest to find this mystery girl, aided by his friend/sort of girlfriend Tabby (Diana Bang). But Ben runs into a mysterious girl at a pharmacy named Hanna (Jess Weixler) who leaves him her number, and of course, it would seem that she’s his mysterious long lost almost sister.
The two begin hanging out a lot, and it’s sort of the typical indie drama of the classic type, weird withdrawn guy with quirky girl. But there’s more to it. For one, it’s vaguely incestuous and that’s weird already, but Hanna is more than simply quirky, she is truly like someone inside Ben’s head. And the movie keeps showing Ben’s odd visions and hallucinations, including a recurring, more honest version of himself in a mirror.
And the direction the story goes is likely not at all where you might expect, but it’s surprisingly affirming and interesting. The movie suffers in some of those scenes where it seems more like a cliché, but this is bolstered by the killer third act. Any movie that starts with the protagonist attempting suicide is certainly trying to say something, and yes, this movie is trying to say something.
I found Thomas Middleditch to do quite a good job in this movie, and although he’s not playing against type exactly, he is doing more than simply the weird guy who gets the cool girl. I think that people might not realize what sort of movie this is — it’s truly an indie oddball movie, but not inaccessible. It’s not the best example of the genre, but it stands out and I didn’t hate it at all.
One of the positive things about this movie is that I found myself nearly liking the characters, and that’s not easy for an indie movie going hard like this. The oddness makes it easier to watch for me, and I appreciated the risks and twists the movie had. Overall, not bad at all.
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Entanglement has a run time of 1 hour 25 minutes and is not rated.