In a Relationship
R0 - Australia - Umbrella Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: James-Masaki Ryan (28th July 2019).
The Film

"In a Relationship" (2018)

Hallie (played by Emma Roberts) and Owen (played by Michael Angarano) have been a couple for three years, but are hitting a rough patch. They are both in Los Angeles but living in separate apartments. They are starting to have more quarrels than lovemaking sessions, and when Hallie asks about taking things further by moving in together, things get even more complicated. In the meantime, Owen's best friend Matt (played by Patrick Gibson) and Hallie's cousin (played by Dree Hemingway) meet at a fourth of July party and hook up that evening. The two couples have their various ups and downs during the one summer of love and hate.

While it seems like it would fit in the romantic comedy genre, the comedy is more in the ranks of indie drama where the laughs are more toward smirks and scoffs rather than flat out hilarious shouts. "In a Relationship" is more a reality check for the mid-20s age group going through what the meaning of a "relationship" is and the conversations that surround their thoughts. While many in the audience might relate to a lot of the happenings in the film - from how one in a relationship perceives what a relationship is and the other having opposing thoughts, the steps in moving in with the significant other, silly and nonsensical conversations in relation to the more serious talks, etc. In cinema there is a fine line between escapism and reality, but "In a Relationship" focuses almost too much on the realities and sometimes the stupidity of young adults in love, and not enough on what the audience wants.

Writer/director Sam Boyd explored the idea of two couples and their relationships in the short film with the same title, "In a Relationship" in 2015. The feature is an extension of the short film, though with different actors as well as losing the narration track. Instead of narrating observer's point of view, the feature length film the audience is along for the ride of the four main characters through the thick and thin. Boyd has stated that many of the scenes and conversations came from firsthand experiences and even if the film circles around love, much of the dialogue is not particularly romantic. There are no beautiful one liners or sappy quotables, but they are centered around the situations - seeing your ex with a new person, seeing your friend going downward physically and mentally, and so forth. The two couples in the story represent the mirror images of the start and the end of a relationship. All the insecurities, the sloppiness, plus the cuteness of the situations are fully seen in the new couple, while the turmoil and emotional toll of the other couple are there.

The problem with the film is that the characters are fairly two dimensional and the dialogue can sometimes be cringing. There are no major consequences that affect all the characters together and instead are episodic moments between each couple. If instead there were two movies made - one about Owen and Hallie, and another about Matt and Willa, they could be done with barely any overlap. While there are many interactions between them, there isn't a strong enough bond in the story to make them totally worthwhile together. The cast does a fair job, but there isn't a particular standout and their interactions aren't particularly interesting either. "In a Relationship" is a hodgepodge of fairly mundane and serious situations in various stages in relationships, but the execution is not very strong.

Note this is a region 0 NTSC DVD

Video

Umbrella Entertainment presents the film in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio with anamorphic enhancement in the NTSC format. Shot mostly handheld, it is not particularly a shaky image but does give a feeling of intimacy throughout, with many two shots filling the frame. Colors are more on the darker side and the transfer is quite sharp and crisp. Focus points are clear and there are no particular issues with errors or faults in the image and the standard definition transfer is very good.

The film's runtime is 91:44.



















Audio

English Dolby Digital 5.1
The original English track is mixed in 5.1. A fairly engaging track even if mostly dialogue driven, the surrounds especially get a kick with the music cues from groups such as The Preatures, Clockwork, Future Islands, and others played throughout, making up mostly an indie rock and electro playlist. Most of the dialogue is from the center channel, though some incidental dialogue does come from the left and right channels at times. Dialogue is always clean and clear with no issues of hiss or crackle.

There are no subtitles for the feature.

Extras

Unfortunately no extras have been included.

Packaging

The packaging states region 4 only, but is actually region 0.

Overall

"In a Relationship" is a romantic indie drama that takes itself a little too seriously, yet never feels like it delivers a heartfelt work. The Umbrella Entertainment release sports a good transfer, but unfortunately without extras.

The Film: C- Video: A Audio: A- Extras: F- Overall: C-

 


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