Acquainted is the type of indie that wants to say something profound about romance. Little does writer/director Natty Zavitz know, dozens of other movies have beat him to the punch.
Zavitz tells a typical story about two former high school classmates, Drew (Giacomo Gianniotti) and Emma (Laysia De Oliveira), who randomly meet each other at a Toronto bar and wander the city’s streets catching up – inadvertently flirting with each other. After getting addicted to their company, they fess to each other that they’re romantically involved with other people. However, when their current relationships start to weigh on them, Drew and Emma can’t help texting each other and going on more walks. The cordial hang-outs become more sneaky as this rekindled friendship develops into an affair that neither of them want to acknowledge negatively.
Acquainted is standard, but even the most basic flicks can get a recommendation based on their individual strengths. I had a hard time figuring out what Acquainted was good at. There are some fleetingly cute moments between Gianniotti and De Oliveira and long, uncut shots have impressive composure, but there’s not much else that’s substantial in Zavitz’s movie.
When referring to the press notes, Zavitz describes his movie: “Acquainted is about being heartbroken in Toronto”. Okay. Let’s generalize that premise a little more considering how Toronto is only recognizable in the movie to viewers who currently live there. Even if the movie is about passing ships in the grand scheme of an encompassing city, it still fails to connect with audiences due to underwritten characters. Drew and Emma are comprised of bits and pieces of young, frustrated lovers, but the material doesn’t form much more than a character outline.
Acquainted, at least, has a finale that I wasn’t expecting, but Natty Zavitz delivers it in a way that stays true to the humdrum nature of his movie. The film is consistent, but not in an engaging way.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie