Being young and just starting out can be a rough time. It’s also prime source material for young filmmakers to tell their stories. One film in particular, the just getting released Anywhere With You, is mining just that territory. Is it old hat, especially in independent cinema? Of course it is. Is it still vertical ground? Very much so. The key is just to either depict it in a unique way or give it some feeling of verisimilitude. This project does a bit of the former, but really does well when it comes to the latter. That sets it it apart and ultimate is what makes it worth seeing and searching out.
The film is a look at the first day in the rest of the lives of a young couple in love. Amanda (Morgan Saylor) and Jake (McCaul Lombardi) have backed all their worldly goods and are excited to start a new life in Los Angeles. It’ll be hard, but worth it, in their eyes. Stopping at Amanda’s aunt Jeanine (Betsy Brandt) to stay, they’re met with disapproval. So, they take off, deciding to just make it in LA on their own. What follows is the first 24 hours of their new life in the City of Angeles, as they move around the city, looking for work, and running into a number of frustrating issues. There are bright moments as well, suggesting that they may just have made the right call. Marco La Via and Hanna Ladoul share directing and writing duties. Stephen Tringali handles the cinematography, while the score comes from Juan Cortés. Supporting players include Lorelei Linklater, among others.
What gives this movie its worthiness is the lived in performances and intimate filmmaking. By keeping the camera close on the protagonists’ faces, we quickly become invested in their plight. The filmmakers also resist the urge to make villains show up in the story. There are plenty of people who make Amanda and Jake’s lives harder, and Jake himself occasionally seems less than driven, but it all feels real enough to work. Other films would have gone more overly dramatic routes, but not here. The flick has the courage of its convictions and the knowledge that we’ll keep up with the characters enough to be invested without extra roadblocks.
Morgan Saylor is slowly becoming an actress to watch out for. She blew me away a year or two ago in White Girl, turning in devastating work in a flick that often was hard to watch. Here, it’s a lower key that she’s acting in, but the performance is still quite good. It won’t be long before Hollywood comes calling, you can bank on that. Not only does she have the acting chops, there’s a personality about her that is somewhat intoxicating. That’s the X factor or secret sauce that leads to sustained success. Don’t sleep on Saylor as a star in the making.
Starting today, audiences can take in a solid little movie when Anywhere With You hits screens. It’s not the type of indie effort that blows you away, but it is the sort of thing that you’ll see yourself in, in all likelihood. The film has familiarity on its side, but in a good way. Plus, you’ll want to get in early on the Saylor fan club, so keep that in mind. You’ll have to look around a bit for this one (it also used to be called We The Coyotes, so keep that in the back of your head when googling and such), but it’s worth it. Give it a shot and see what you think…
Be sure to check out Anywhere With You, opening in theaters this weekend!