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IRL (In Real Life) film review


Directed by: Ricardo Perez-Selsky

Written by: Chase Hinton

Starring: Chase Hinton, Johanna Sol, Eric Roberts

Film Poster for IRL showing protagonists Chase Hinton and Johanna Sol.
Film Poster for IRL.

Technology has come a long way. Today, no matter how far they are from each other, people can communicate with ease thanks to the invention of the internet and mobile phones. They can meet new people online and sometimes they end up meeting the love of their life.

Ian (Hinton) is an artist living in Los Angeles. He is struggling to find the right woman and constantly looks at online dating sites. Then he comes across the profile of Sofia (Sol) and contacts her. The two communicate via internet and phone and get along well, revealing details about their personal life to each other. It becomes apparent that they would make a good couple. Unfortunately they are unable to meet because Sofia is in Mexico City, supporting her mother who has cancer. Due to further complications, Sofia ends up staying much longer. When will they meet? Face-to-face that is. Will their relationship work out?

IRL is a romantic drama that focuses on how individuals can develop relationships thanks to the use of modern technology. It's plot has similarities to Her (2013), in which a man falls in love with an artificial intelligence program. In both films the hero is constantly communicating with someone they do not see. IRL contains many scenes where Ian is having long conversations with Sofia. Technically he is by himself, but he actually is not, as he is getting to know another person, with his devices. The film does point out that technology brings people together.

What is mostly seen in this movie is Hinton, as he is almost always on screen. There are many long takes of him as he is socialising with Sofia with the camera focusing on his face. He comes across as a well-meaning man, who wants to make things better for himself. Robert's appearance is brief, but he delivers a strong performance as Ian's no-good father. Credit should also go to Sol, whose voice acting manages to give the impression that she is a kind, caring individual.

As technology plays a key role in this story, there are many closeups of information on computer monitors and mobile phones. Viewers will also get to see plenty of closeups of Hinton's mostly smiling face. Editor Tayler Braasch also uses the split screen technique to great effect. The film also benefits by Jakob Freudendahl's beautiful, dramatic score.

IRL is pretty much a reflection of today's world. A world that communicates through electronic devices, which many people can identify with. It has a plot that the audience will want to follow and great character development.



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