Forev Blu-ray Review
What happens when two people who have been unlucky in love come together and finally acknowledge that they may have feelings for each other? That sounds like the premise of about every romantic comedy you’ve ever seen, right? Thankfully not every long term relationship fitting the mold has to play out like most romantic comedies, and new indie FOREV, from first time feature directors Molly Green and James Leffler, turns the whole thing on its head by having our protagonists, Sophie and Pete, becoming engaged before they ever go on their first date. Then they deal with the realization that nothing can ever be as easy as it seems while laying on the floor of a neighbor’s apartment.
Movie tag lines don’t usually do anything for me but I really enjoyed this one. Sophie and Pete get engaged on their first date, which is a 6-hour drive through the desert. And then nothing goes wrong… nothing at all.
Sometimes the simplicity, the strictures under which an independent film must be made lead the filmmakers and the director (or in this case directors) to make decisions leading to a more authentic film. FOREV certainly benefits from this by spending time focusing on the leads, Sophie (new SNL cast member Noël Wells), Pete (Matt Mider) and Pete’s sister Jess (Amanda Bauer). Instead of adding lots of other fluff the supporting cast consists of roles that could (and probably would) have been distracting cameos from Hollywood friends in a larger budget picture – but here they are just what they should be, brief encounters that move forward the plot.
Further, the small cast gives each character a good chance to develop despite the possibly unbelievable premise. Both Wells and Mider really inhabit the characters they play. Wells as Sophie, a struggling actor trying to pay the bills and just have fun, is totally believable in the moment when she agrees to Pete’s proposal. And Mider’s Pete, earnest and innocent with an infectious smile, is instantly lovable. A character like Pete is usually reserved to the level of ‘lovable shlub’ in feature films. That they give him such a different storyline is a testament to the writing and to the likeability (and future career) of Mr. Mider.
The real high point of the film, though, for me is Amanda Bauer as Jess. When what starts as a trip with her geeky older brother turns into something unexpected with Sophie on board, Jess is confounded but a perfect straight-man to the comedy duo that are Mider and Wells. Movies like this can disappear into obscurity without a good center, someone who is experiencing and representing us in the world we are seeing. Bauer does this with grace while carrying her own story arc as well, helping us all to fall in love with Jess.
As I said in my roundup of the Tallgrass Film Festival, where I was lucky enough to screen FOREV for the first time last fall, FOREV is simply adorable. Noël Wells and Matt Mider have an easy chemistry that lends further credibility to the proficient filmmaking of new feature filmmakers Molly Green and James Leffler, who co-wrote and co-directed FOREV. This is a hidden gem you should definitely check out if you’re tired of the same-old, same-old romantic comedy tripe.
FOREV BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: FOREV is presented in beautiful high definition and is an immersive if unimpressive presentation. This isn’t the type of movie to show off your new home theater but it does enhance the performances throughout the film.
Audio: The audio channel for FOREV is very, very well done. With a movie like this you never know how the budgetary constraints are going to play out. I’m happy to say we’re left with a very nice presentation here allowing the audience to focus on the dialogue and the situations presented on the screen without any issues.
Noël’s Photo Diary allows you to view photos taken by the co-star of FOREV during filming.
Matt’s Video Diary (01:48) A bunch of quick moments from behind the scenes of FOREV are cut together and presented here as shot by Mr. Mider. It would have been nice to extend the feature a bit as this seems to give us only the best moments from the footage… but if it is less than 2 minutes I’m not sure it was entirely worth it.
Outtakes (06:23) Mider and Wells are veterans of improvisation so we get to see a lot of the outtakes from some of their scenes in FOREV. There are some really funny moments but this one, in contrast to the Video Diary (above) is a little bit long.
The Blu-ray for FOREV also features the Festival Trailer (01:35) and a “Coming Soon” section that shows the covers of the DVDs our couple purchases during the films opening moments.