“So apparently there are two types of people in this world. The ones who wave at boats, and the ones who hate joy.”
Story: South London recently re-singled twenty-somethings Yas and Dom meet in a unisex bathroom, as you do. Over the course of a few days, they Do Adventures, Make Connections, and try to figure out where to go from here. (Hint: karaoke makes everything better y’all.)
Genre I’d put it in: Romcoms For Everyone – YES EVERYONE
Release Date: 2023 (March 2023 to be specific, on Star & Hulu)
Remake, Sequel, Based-On, or Original: Original!
Gotta say: Lane is perfectly messy, hilarious film that feels like Before Sunset through the lens of Wes Anderson on a bender. It’s a great lazy day, “dunno what genre I want” kinda film. Or just one that you can gather a bunch of friends together to check out, so you can all shout about who’s what character on screen. (Me? I’m definitely a Yas. What up, boats?)
Writers Nathan Bryon and Tom Melia crafted characters that are charming, smart, and funny, yet feel like people that you’d actuall meet in real life. And director Raine Allen Miller takes this screenplay and runs with it, showing off an incredible talent for setting scenes, balancing the tonal shifts in the story so the often lightning-fast changes in emotional heft feel understandable, and using fun, often goofy ways of blocking and shooting the scenes to get the maximum effect. Lane is a film that looks deceptively “easy” or “simple”, but the seemingly effortless way the story flows belies the hard work that went into it. Damn y’all, I’m impressed. Then there’s the great soundtrack filled with various genres and vibes that work perfectly in each scene. Extra points for the diegetic tunes, especially a particular karaoke scene that had me with all the feelings, but especially of cringe, joy, and exuberant goofiness.
Then there’s the stars of the show. Vivian Oparah and David Jonsson bring Yas and Dom to life as if they were born to these characters. They both started on stage, and that commitment to their characters shows in every moment they’re onscreen. As they wander through the streets of South London, learning about each other (and themselves), their wandering could have been a slog in the hands of other, lesser talents. But here, it’s magic. I look forward to watching them get the attention they richly deserve. Hear that, Hollywood? OBEY ME. Special shout-out to Simon Manyonda as Nathan, Yas’ ex, and an art snob so up his own patoot, he’d give The Menu‘s Tyler a run for most pretentious human.
This is the kind of film I worry about. It’s a new film released in the first month of the year, directly to a streaming service. And it’s too good to forget…but it most likely will be come the next awards season onslaught. Which is a pity. But there’s a silver lining; watch Lane when it drops on Hulu, and you’ll get all sorts of cool film person cred when you talk about how everyone else should have known about this film earlier. Just don’t wear a beret. That ish is tacky, unless you’re French and have the bone structure for that type of style. (Or just do you – I’m just jealous because I could never rock one, and I’m mad about it.)
#Protip: After watching this fun and funky story, you wanna know more about the Rye Lane area? SAME. So here you go. I’ll take the Tube down from Camden (that’s where I dwell when I’m in town) and meet’cha at John the Unicorn!