Directed and written by #CourtneyDaniels
We all get so used to the cliches of relationship dramas. Be they on the big screen or the small, we know them well. The atypical stories of partner cheats on partner resulting in fiery chaos. The typically lengthy relationship breaking down/ending before a loving sugary picturesque kiss mends it all. Those familiar cracks forming as best-friends-turned-married couple drift hopelessly apart. You get the picture. All this is of course real in many senses but often you sit looking at something and think, “that’s very Hollywood”. So it comes as a welcome surprise that writer/director #CourtneyDaniels’ film Bedroom Story not only feels relatable, honest and realistic but it also has fun with its genre and in fact the nature of the movies.
The film sees couple Kim (#AnnieCavalero) and Mark (#MichaelMarcFriedman) 15 years into a healthy marriage, but as both begin to think on the past, present and future, they do so too on their relationship and Kim especially starts to wander down an uncertain but unavoidable path.
Bedroom Story is a very refreshing film that strikes you, at first, as though it is going to go some predictable routes but gratifyingly deals instead with very real themes of ageing, familiarity and the hypnotising allure of nostalgia. Kim and Mark are both very likeable and Cavalero and Friedman strike an excellent chemistry together onscreen, which helps immeasurably as the screenplay slowly unfolds from some initial questions the couples ask, or themes they breezily think on or face, to some far deeper dream-like feelings that are coming to pass in their marriage.
Unlike most films of this type, one gender or side is welcomingly not chastised over the other, both have feelings, though admittedly it is Kim taken in more by them but it is most pleasing seeing how the film relishes loving strength and the pleasures of connection, over the destructiveness. We often say nostalgia is a hell of a drug and this film really does excellently show how, as we get older, we increasingly think on roads not gone down, dreams unfulfilled, friends of youth and our accomplishments. The compelling nature of the past is something to behold sure but also something to be wary of. In particular, as we pass from young adulthood into that troublesome zone ahead but which still lies before middle age.
Such crisis is addressed, as are the dispiriting realities of what writers face today (the attention-stealing advancement of social media, loss of the art to a degree and head against the wall nature of writer’s block) and the aesthetically-driven and compromising nature of getting your work made into film and TV. These sub-themes are as compelling as the romantic beats, and while some raised discussions don’t pan out as strongly, Bedroom Story remarkably pulls it all off intriguingly and warmly, as the two lead actors each excel with the material and Daniels allows it all to breathe out before coming back in.
Cavalero is perhaps allowed greater emotional depths, as her ‘80s obsessed feelings mount and she is left wondering what she wants, needs and what it all means, as well as who she wants to be, while Friedman is funny and charming as Mark, who is a bedrock of support, though equally challenged by such things and while temptations loom he is defiant in face of them. And there are even some fun supporting turns by a diverse cast, who all play a well placed part in constructing the entire picture and do a good job adding to the film’s aura of getting us in the mind and heart of the lead couple.
The film is set entirely in the bedroom space (well created by #BiancaButti’s cinematography) and uses that setting to develop its ongoing story piece by piece. Even having fun doing so by addressing sex in a natural way, as well as the small but unmissable pleasures that come with love and marriage.
Some audiences will connect more to Bedroom Story than others and that is to be expected considering the themes explored. However, the enjoyable, funny and heartfelt way in which this film is directed, written, made and acted, means this is an enjoyable experience for most viewers and one which - with its pop culture inclinations and sly movie adorations - is most pleasing to sit through whether you are single or not!
A great film about connection and its meaning, importance and strength.