"Leave Me Like You Found Me" barely musters enough energy to engage as it tests whether two ex-lovers can repair a breakup by camping in the Sequoia National Forest.

Torn between the dramatic molehill of a yuppie couple’s off-and-on relationship and the visual splendor of the Sierra Nevada mountains, “Leave Me Like You Found Me” barely musters enough energy to engage as it tests whether two ex-lovers can repair a breakup by camping in the Sequoia National Forest. While undoubtedly personal, indie producer Adele Romanski’s slender directorial debut feels too nonspecific to inspire profound responses from many beyond the DIY darling’s circle of friends and supporters. After modest fest exposure, such a low-key pic could require some form of self-distribution.

After a year apart, Cal (David Nordstrom) and Erin (Megan Boone) decide to take to the woods, where their passive-aggressive quarreling is intercut with scenic, soft-focus vistas and romanticized shots of swarming gnats. In this environment, separated from their everyday distractions, he tries to go with the flow, while she probes with questions about their compatibility, including, “Why do you love me?” The two leads, though adequate, fail to convey why we should love them either, while distant animal growls and a “Gerry”-like excursion off the trail suggest what a plot might have done for this understated excursion.

Leave Me Like You Found Me

Production

(International sales: Law Offices of George M. Rush, San Francisco.) Produced by Taylor Feltner. Directed, written by Adele Romanski.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), James Laxton, Jay Keitel; editors, Nicoled West, Romanski; music, William Ryan Fritch. Reviewed at SXSW Film Festival (Emerging Visions), March 11, 2012. Running time: 79 MIN.

With

Megan Boone, David Nordstrom.

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