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Friday, February 5, 2016

Naughty Minded "Textual Relationship" Talks Love & Sex in the 21st Century . . . With a Phone?

"TEXTUAL RELATIONSHIP" (2015)
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Length- 14:26
Company:  Pixelform Studios

* This film contains male nudity and frank depictions of sexual activity that are only suitable for mature audiences.  This film would probably be rated "R" if it were submitted to the MPAA.

Dating in the 21st Century isn't easy for anyone, but it's difficult in particular for people like DarkDemon92 (David Frias-Robles) and UniqueTalent_33 (Sarah Langrish-Smith), who are socially awkward to begin with and only able to communicate effectively behind the safety of a cell phone screen.

So when things start going really well, and they take their relationship into the real world and even move in together, things start to get amusing . . . and more than a little wrong!

OH SO DIRTY

"Textual Relationship", written by Tom Glover and director Syd Heather and based upon Glover's play of the same name, is similar in some ways to "@Social #Connection", which we reviewed last month.  But whereas that film took a cute, touching direction, Heather's film tacks for more gritty and explicit 40 Year Old Virgin territory.

Which, anyone who's ever seen 40 Year Old Virgin knows that just because you have naughty stuff in a film, it does not exclude a sense of pathos.  The movie as a whole is funny, and yet sad -- we have two people who are stunted as human beings.  They have online chemistry, they want it to work, and yet it's just not clicking and they have to struggle just to understand each other.

Which leads me to my main complaint about the film: there's no real closure for the characters.  How will they proceed in the future?  No answers are provided, the story just ends with each character remaining exactly the same as they were at the beginning.

It keeps the emotional effect at bay because we see that obviously neither of them have learned anything.

OVERALL SCORES:

Writing: 2.5 / 5.  While funny, the film does seem a bit overly "adult" at times, with one scene seeming particularly gratuitous.
Directing: 3 / 5.  Heather captures the action with a variety of different shots.  I enjoyed the "online sex" montage, that was quite funny.
Editing: 4 / 5.  Well realized visual effects help present cell phone talking and texting onscreen.  The pacing isn't bad despite the fact that there's really not that much action going on in the film.
Sound/Music: 3.5 / 5.  I liked the score from composer Richard D. Taylor.  It's reminiscent of TV's "The Office".
Acting: 4 / 5.  Frias-Robles and Langrish-Smith both do admirable jobs of being likeable and yet unapproachable, hurt and arrogant in their characters' assumptions of relationships.  

Final Grade: 3.4 / 5. 

Don't forget to check out the trailer for "Textual Relationship" at Syd Heather's official Tumblr page, the film's Facebook page and while you're there, follow the creators too!



Thanks for reading! I'm a screenwriter and script consultant. Most recently, I've worked with LMC Productions and Mad Antz Films in Australia. I helped mold Goodybag Productions' award winning screenplay "The Teacher" and Michael Maguire's feature length script "The Wolfpack", which is still in development.

Check out my blog and let's get in touch!