Jim & Helen Forever Aug 29, 2017 19:16:07 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Aug 29, 2017 19:16:07 GMT -5
Jim & Helen Forever (2015)
Directed by: Jesse Zwick
Directed by: Jesse Zwick
Jesse Zwick's directorial debut About Alex was a pretty okay reimagining of The Big Chill for the social networking age; an ensemble film with a plethora of recognizable indie character actors in the form of Nate Parker and Aubrey Plaza. A year later, he follows it up with not another film of the same vein, ala his fellow contemporaries like Joe Swanberg, but with a cute, if light, short film called Jim & Helen Forever, a competently conceived love story revolving around sheer irony and panic. It already sounds like a real relationship.
When David's (Lucas Heff) girlfriend Tess (Caitlin Fitzgerald) informs him that she's contemplating accepting a job offer out of state, David thinks the only way she'd even think about staying in a relationship with him is if he proposes to her. The problematic tone of the premise is mostly undermined by everyone from acquaintances to engagement ring saleswomen telling David what a schmuck he is for even thinking of such a plan. His best friend (Echo Kellum) and brother (Silicon Valley's Josh Brener) both go along with his plan, even after David scoffs at his brother for giving their grandmother's priceless ring to a Russian model he just met over the internet. The three imbeciles spend the day running around in search of a place to purchase an engagement ring on the cheap until David stumbles upon a pawn shop with a wise owner (Jeff Perry) in the knick of time.
Just as Jim & Helen Forever begins to take a more predictable pathway with the "old soul shopkeeper" cliche, it reverts back to show that Zwick's central motivation, apart from showing millennial decision-making at the drop of a hat, is to use this premise as the groundwork for some delicious irony. On that note, he definitely succeeds. It's the little things that make Zwick's film stray a bit too much off course, such as David's motivations and relationship with Tess as a whole being a bit too unclear, given the constraints of a fifteen minute short. I'm at a crossroads regarding that while I'd like to see the leading couple fleshed out a bit more, I also wouldn't want this film to be as long as Jim & Helen Forever.
Zwick gets the details right, however, not only when it comes time to reveal what meaning the title has, but also in the form of quirky subplots such as an attempt at artisanal basement brewing or the way a group of female workers respond to David's off-the-cuff plan. The same sort of attention was paid to characters' backstories in About Alex and in the way certain individuals interacted with others. Jim & Helen Forever continues to serve as a sample size for Zwick's future endeavors, one or more of which hopefully becoming great staples of independent films.
Starring: Lucas Heff, Caitlin Fitzgerald, Jeff Perry, Josh Brener, and Echo Kellum. Directed by: Jesse Zwick.