Review of Save the Date
on 2012-11-07 15:51
Rating: Not Yet Rated
Length: 98 minutes
Release Date: Premiered at Sundance (Jan) 2012, Opens in theaters December 14th
Directed By: Michael Mohan
Genre: Independent Film/Romantic Comedy
Charming and pensive, ‘Save The Date’ follows Sarah and her sister Beth through the ups and downs of being in love. The cast is talented and familiar, starring Lizzie Caplan (Party Down), Alison Brie (Community), and Martin Starr (Freaks and Geeks), to name a few. Sparing the audience any rash plot twists, director Michael Mohan tells a seemingly conventional love story in such a way that keeps the story current and the audience engaged.
Michael Mohan premiered ‘Save The Date’ at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, delivering everything you would expect from and indie love story. The film is thoughtful and funny, heavily grounded in characters rather than circumstance. Dialogue over action, with a soundtrack bordering on hipster.
The film opens with Sarah (Caplan) packing dishes, as she prepares to move in with her long time boyfriend Kevin, played by Geoffrey Arend. As Sarah sticks a dirty dish in a box and explains to her sister ‘I’ll wash it when I get there,’ it becomes clear that Sarah has a captivating ambivalence towards life that carries throughout the film.
Initially Sarah isn’t sure about much. She isn’t sure what to pack. She isn’t sure if it’s too soon to move in with Kevin. She isn’t even sure if she’s in love with him.
Meanwhile, Kevin is toying with the idea of proposing to Sarah that evening—having already purchased a ring—until his best friend and band-mate Andrew (Starr) convinces him to wait until their next upcoming concert.
When Kevin proposes at the concert, Sarah declines and the movie begins with all the characters beginning to reassemble the pieces.
It’s here that Caplan really shines as Sarah. There’s a beautiful shot of Sarah and Beth walking a pier, where Sarah delivers a thoughtful explanation of happiness and her decisions, reminding audiences why this is more of an independent film than romantic comedy.
Caplan captures these pensive moments with a charm and ease, delivering a complex and engaging performance that makes one wonder why Lizzie Caplan is best known for her role as Janice Ian in ‘Mean Girls.’
Unfortunately, Sarah’s insight is lost on her sister Beth, who is too consumed with planning her own wedding to notice much else. Instead of being there for her sister, Beth is more worried about if Sarah will have a problem with Kevin’s band playing at the reception.
Just as Beth and her fiance Andrew’s relationship seems to hit the pre-wedding rocks, Sarah dives head first into a rebound relationship with a new guy from her bookstore, Jonathan.
As quickly as Sarah ended things with Kevin, Jonathan consumes her. While Sarah and Jonathan are in the throws of a new relationship, Beth sees her engagement to Andrew suffering.
Andrew becomes upset with the way Beth is dismissing her sister, with wedding hesitations surfacing when Beth fails to show up to Sarah’s art gallery opening.
As the film hits its climax, Jonathan and Kevin are both fighting for Sarah’s love, despite her making it clear that she isn’t sure what she wants. She knows she’s not in love with Kevin, but she also knows the fear of being tied down may be enough to cause her to run from Jonathan.
With Beth and Andrew fighting over the wedding, and Sarah’s love life contently confused, ‘Save The Date’ plays with the notion of ‘ideal’ relationships.
The film ends rather abruptly—offering little resolution—perhaps as a final attempt from director Michael Mohan to keep ‘Save The Date’ more indie than rom-com. It hits VideoOnDemand November 8 and theaters mid December.