X/Y (Edinburgh International Film Festival) Review

Karen looks at an independent American drama about relationships, screened at the Edinburgh Film Festival.

Love and relationships. What are they these days but interlinked with technology making us evermore paranoid, lonely, desperate and needy? Whilst that might be a fairly pessimistic view to hold, technology does hold a presence in X/Y, the drama directed and written by Ryan Piers Williams. X/Y features the lives and interactions of New Yorkers struggling with their relationships or lack thereof.

Sylvia, played by America Ferrera, is a workaholic, career driven woman. Unsatisfied in her relationship with Mark (Ryan Piers Williams) they break up. Within three minutes, Ferrera’s face is wet with tears and it all looks a bit bleak. Ryan leaves their apartment in a daze in the hopes of staying at a friend’s apartment. The nameless friend has his own story of course. Being the definition of an entrepreneur, the expressionless hunk DJs, models, paints and does a little bit of photography with a Polaroid camera. There’s an eerie air that surrounds the stern faced man who is still suffering from a broken long term relationship. There is a glimmer of hope in a scene were a potential romantic interest opens up to him.

Jen, played by the endearing and one to watch Melonie Diaz, is a shopaholic. She likes to shop and shop well. With an apartment bombarded with clothes and accessories, Jen is in serious denial causing her to lie profusely to her friends and family. After finally admitting her true self via voicemail to cute barista (Danny Deferrari) whom she met earlier, Jen might be making some progress.

The lies and infidelity by Sylvia with her disrespectful co-worker (Common) soon plays on her conscious and her current relationship with Ryan. Their distrust and awkwardness in one scene towards the end of the film sparks a renewal for them.

The intimate sex scenes throughout the film all point to the modern day age of relationships. The soft and tender moments between two people coupled with the vacant interactions in bar toilets and nightclubs. The New York setting is not really emphasised wholeheartedly as would normally be experienced in most films. The blurry metropolitan cinematography and wide streets could make it any urban city in the world. This emphasises the universality of the characters on screen and their heart ache.

The audience experiences both long and short excerpts into each of the character’s lives. The film switches from character to character nicely but the most engaging narrative of all is Jen’s. For a brief amount of time, Jen’s drifting around a vapid city is something we can all relate to in some way. How do things work out with the barista who surprisingly decides to call her for a cuppa joe? Could it be a fully fledged relationship that Jen is looking for? X/Y is an interesting and engaging film reminiscent of New York, I Love You and Paris, je’taime. Interesting and deep characters that are only on screen for a short while and off they go with their lives.

Karen McCain

Updated: Jul 14, 2014

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