Welcome to this week in “Self-indulgent Millennial Indie Film”.
Travis (Matt McGorry) looms distantly at his ex’s wedding. They interact; it’s awkward, but there’s a bit of solemn resolution. Travis shares a cab ride home with another wedding guest, and they too interact awkwardly, though less so – perhaps it’s part of his charm. The woman, Ellen (Amy Hargreaves), invites him to attend her yoga class. He returns to his New York state of mind and being, having further awkward interactions with friends and a soon-to-be ex girlfriend. Aimless, he takes Ellen up on her offer – which sparks a less-than-scrupulous romance between the two: Ellen is married to a perfectly nice, normal, non-abusive man. As the two explore their romance, the heft of the drama and consequences set in.
Marc Meyers’ How He Fell in Love doesn’t have a whole lot to offer. The viewer’s surrogate is a cliche of 201X quarter life culture. He appears to have some sort of unexplained and undisplayed charm – the kind where it’s in the dialogue, so you’ll have to just take their word for it. The real charmer is Ellen, who despite being unjustifiably unfaithful to her wedding vows, gets you on her side right away. Hargreaves reads well on screen, turning an otherwise pitiful character into someone to rally behind.
As the romance buds, it does become more and more endearing. Travis and Ellen have good chemistry – McGorry and Hargreaves use their screen time well. Unfortunately, the plot is old news – there’s nothing unique or exciting about this should-have-stayed-as-a-docx-short-story-on-a-Macbook-hard-drive. It presents as a twenty-something’s concoction of “what if” or desired experience, playing out the encounters, drama and fallout as a rose-tinted romance in itself.
How He Fell in Love plods for the first hour, setting up nothing that couldn’t be achieved effectively in less than half that time. It’s a dull, been-done plot, but the film does have its charms to it – mainly Amy Hargreaves’ character, who should have been the focus right from the opening scene. Despite the all around mundane atmosphere, How He Fell in Love is a good watch for a quiet, subdued and low-key experience; like a warming hum coming from a far off furnace – if that’s the kind of thing you’re looking for.
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Trevor Jeffery: @TrevorSJeffery