A candy, mild puff of a film, Individual To Individual succeeds on the power of its affection for shaggy-dog tales and the personalities who waltz out and in of them. In concept, it’s the kind of indie that’s already been carried out to dying: an ensemble-cast love letter to the prickly character of New York. (Even worse, it’s shot on fuzzy Tremendous 16mm.) However writer-director Dustin Man Defa, a prolific director of brief movies making his first characteristic since 2011’s Unhealthy Fever, has developed a really feel for American eccentricity that brings to thoughts Jim Jarmusch and Richard Linklater in its finest moments, albeit in a scruffier type. Taking its title from an outstanding, roughly unrelated brief that Defa directed in 2014, the film follows a number of tales, that are set over the course of a single day however don’t all the time overlap. It’s a movie of ephemeral pleasures, adorned in a wealthy number of voices, non-verbal gestures, and speech patterns: unfussy, unrushed, at occasions very humorous.
Essentially the most conventionally dramatic of those sometimes intersecting narratives, wherein a dorky, metal-bass-playing crime reporter (Michael Cera) and his trainee (Abbi Jacobson) hustle for details about a suspicious dying, can also be the least fascinating, whereas the pokiest—which follows a hepcat report collector (Bene Coopersmith, who additionally starred within the brief) as he considers the acquisition of a uncommon Charlie Parker LP and mulls over telling his girlfriend that he loves her—is persistently pleasant. This speaks to the benefit with which Individual To Individual can luxuriate in non-events, like Coopersmith’s character (additionally named Bene) asking the house owners of a bodega their opinion of his new floral-print shirt or a still-aspiring Casanova (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) telling a narrative about sleeping with a lady who additionally slept with Frank Sinatra. Quite a lot of it depends upon presence—particularly on the subject of the balding, bespectacled, bearded Coopersmith, a real-life Brooklyn report retailer proprietor with sufficient confidence and easygoing character to maintain a characteristic of his personal.
After which there’s Bene’s buddy Ray (George Pattern III, terrifically droll), avoiding an ass-whooping that he is aware of he deserves; teen Wendy (Rookie founder Tavi Gevinson) rolling her eyes whereas her finest good friend makes out with a doofus; a cranky watch repairman (Philip Baker Corridor) making an attempt to go about his enterprise; and, someplace in there, a raggedly humorous bicycle chase scene. Individual To Individual is the kind of film that’s too breezy to confess to having a thesis, and but all of its narratives contact not directly on authenticity—whether or not it’s Wendy’s emotions about her sexuality, Bene’s dilemma of expressing his true emotions or shopping for a presumably bogus report, or the outdated artwork of watch restore. After all, it’s a query that dozens of New York-set indies have posed for themselves through the years, however few of them reply it as organically as Individual To Individual.