SOME BODY

NR
Reviews

Coming at you like a blast of super-Altoids, Some Body ably captures the frantic hunt for romantic connection among urban twenty-somethings. It was conceived as a kind of documentary based on the real life of Stephanie Bennett, its lead actress and co-writer, even down to using some of her ex-boyfriends as actors. The result is a cinma-vrit feature that combines the narrative of Bennett's journey through date-land with talking heads who ruminate aloud to the audience.

An actress in real life, Bennett plays Samantha, an L.A. schoolteacher. The kickoff is a breakup: A hung-over Sam announces to longtime boyfriend Anthony (Jeramy Guillory) that she wants to move on because the passion is gone and they've grown too comfortable. Seemingly improvised in real time, the scene conveys the misery of such moments without trickery. A telling use of detail--the oatmeal Anthony prepares for Sam, his devastated expression in profile as he washes dishes--speaks as eloquently as any words.

Of course, after she breaks free, it's all downhill for Sam. She's exposed to one toxic dude after another, including a one-night stand turned stalker, and Bobby (Sean Michael Allen), who's perfect in every way except that he already has a girlfriend. Anyone who's been Out There will recognize the terrain. Sam briefly returns home to Texas to seek the solace of family. Pining for old shoe Anthony, Sam finds him deep in a new romance, and humiliates herself trying to flag his attention. By night she binges on drugs, booze, sex; by day, though, she's able to function with authority and grace in her job teaching public-school kids, who come across as an oasis of sweetness. Eventually, Anthony's romance goes south, but the plot wisely promises no reprise of his life with Sam.

Okay, at moments the film--shot on HD video--resembles a stoned home movie, with the lurching hand-held camera, like, out of control, and ditto for the word 'like.' But, on the plus side, the film respects the gnawing loneliness that powers Sam's search for a partner, and casts a cold eye on our incurable propensity for imagining the grass is greener...somewhere else. Everybody looks real, down to their imperfect skin. The inspired blend of fact and fiction makes for a spunky, original take on a theme that will resonate with singles of many ages.

--Erica Abeel