Game | Movie Threat
Writer-director Sean McGinly does wonders with romantic drama’s most minimalist sets Match. It’s a pretty brave move – to have essentially two actors talking on camera for 90 minutes – but it pays off, thanks in large part to two wonderful lead performances that run the emotional gamut and are therefore more than auditions. extended. Although highly theatrical, McGinly employs just enough subtle flourishes to emphasize the visual poem’s multitude of moods.
Jennifer (Ahna O’Reilly) and Ian (Austin Nichols) meet online. She is overly sensitive and perhaps a little too clingy, expecting a “fairy tale” relationship. He is a rich young man, burdened by his past, overly arrogant and deeply anxious. Their chemistry builds, then flounders; they meet in person, take a break, hang out with other people, get kinky and argue passionately. The ebb and flow may be that of a typical romantic comedy, but stripped of all the flourishes associated with the genre, the film becomes an incisive, dialogue-driven (monologue?) study of contemporary encounters.
“…they meet in person, take a break, hang out with other people, get perverted and argue passionately…”
McGinly writes naturalistic dialogue, and O’Reilly and Nichols are up to the task, shifting effortlessly and gracefully between resentment and defensiveness, affection and suspicion; they become sarcastic, upset, hurt. Their monologues are split into two screens, seen via typed emails or accompanied by colorful backgrounds. But it’s the unexpected narrative deviations that impress the most. The filmmaker ignores the duo’s phone conversation and in-person dates, sticking resolutely to the established format. When the protagonists recount these events, it is up to the audience to interpret what happened and what they feel about it.
Jennifer gloats how refreshing it is to write real emails instead of just swiping. Match reiterates how deeply rooted we are in digital connections. An entire romance can be written via texts and emails. The days of meeting in person and reading each other’s micro-expressions for clues are long gone. We have that expected image of a person based on their wittiest, most charming emoji self, and if it doesn’t coincide with the real human being, the gap can be too much to overcome. By the time we meet, either we’re disappointed in a catfish, or we pretty much know…nothing about each other’s meaningful mannerisms and gestures – the things that still make us human.
Match serves as a cinematic encapsulation of modern encounters: two people, showing their souls to deadpan screens, eagerly anticipating typed reactions, then imagining the accompanying visuals. The fact that McGinly’s feature rarely, if ever, feels like an extended short is a major feat in itself. The central trio turns out to be a real match made in heaven.
For more information on Matchvisit Sean McGinly’s official website.