Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Tribeca with Abe: CRSHD

I’ve had the pleasure this year of screening a number of selections from this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, which ran April 24th – May 5th.

Directed by Emily Cohn

We live in a social media world, and there’s no going back. The fact that Facebook, YouTube, and the iPhone didn’t exist at the beginning of this millennium seems impossible given their prominence now, available and universally utilized across many socioeconomic groups all around the world. Understandably, growing up with these platforms and an attachment to touchscreens has shaped the minds and behavior of young people, often gluing their faces to their phones in a way that prevents them from truly interacting with anyone around them. There are many ways to portray this phenomenon in film and television, and leaning into it proves very effective in this case.

Izzy (Isabelle Barbier), Anuka (Deeksha Ketkar), and Fiona (Sadie Scott) are best friends who all want to lose their virginities before the end of their freshman year at college. When the immensely popular Elise (Isabelle Kenet) plans a Crush Party, where only those who have been identified as crushes by someone else will be invited, they see their last chance to do so. While Fiona sets her sights on Elise herself and Anuka expresses a relative lack of interest, Izzy is the most awkward, so determined to do something unexpected when she can’t even work up the courage to “deep like” the photo of someone she wants to kiss, leading to a wild and memorable night.

This film embraces its characters’ chosen form of communication, jumping away from reality each time they begin texting to have them each read what they have typed aloud with a phone in their hand and a colored background to highlight their words. The device seems intended to underscore the absurdity and impersonality of much of what they write, and also to note the contrast between what they say in real life and what they say when they don’t have to actually utter the words. It’s a fun supplement to the narrative that ends up being exactly as irritating as it’s meant to be.

The cast is great, with Barbier deserving special mention for her hilarious take on someone trying so hard to be enthusiastic and hip because she thinks it will get her far. Her character is a version of what Elsie Fisher’s protagonist from “Eighth Grade” could grow up to be, confident in her own mind in a way that comes across as anything but when perceived by others. This is an entertaining film that starts out like “Superbad” or “Booksmart” with a designated goal for its characters but abandons a close pursuit of that to truly live with its three young women as they see what happens when they do more than just write and take action instead.


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