×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: ‘We’re Still Together’

Jesse Klein's shaggy all-nighter drama locates a touching bond between two men at very different stages of immaturity.

With:
Jesse Camacho, Joey Klein, Eve Harlow, Brielle Robillard, Diana Bentley, Marie Turgeon, Alex Weiner, Brittany Drisdelle, Trevor Hayes. (English, French dialogue)

Official Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3755228/

“We’re Still Together” sounds like a title for a tough-love romantic drama — a study of a marriage, perhaps, that has held fast through thick and thin. But there is no such union to be found in Canadian director Jesse Klein’s plucky, rough-hewn character drama, while the platonic relationship at its center is barely a couple of hours old. Instead, the “we” of “We’re Still Together” may refer to sorely tested individuals trying to keep their own disordered lives in one piece: specifically, overweight teenage wallflower Chris (Jesse Camacho) and careering, hard-drinking single father Bobby (Joey Klein), whose paths improbably converge for a long, dark and mutually therapeutic night of the soul. If the story is built on a layer of contrivance characteristic of much North American indie fare, the compassion of Klein’s filmmaking rings true; following its premiere in competition at Karlovy Vary, further festival bookings and modest, multi-platform distribution seem assured.

Early in “We’re Still Together,” grungy checkout girl Claire (Eve Harlow) catches the shy, shuffling Chris gazing at her admiringly from the aisle, and bluntly calls him out. “Do you know the difference between looking at people and staring at them?” she scolds. It’s a fair but barbed question to ask someone who cuts a substantial physical figure, but might reasonably feel that he’s never seen at all. Would that Chris were even less visible, however, to the only peers who appear to pay him any mind: vicious, bullying dude-bro Jeremy (Alex Weiner) and his cronies. The film opens in juddering, tough-to-watch fashion, as Jeremy launches a violent, unprovoked sidewalk attack on Chris — not the first such confrontation, and not the last. At this defeated point in his life, Chris would happily settle for merely being stared at.

Viewers might assume from such schoolyard-style cruelty that Chris is an adolescent, though as it turns out, he’s in his twenties — albeit in a petrified state of not-quite-adulthood, living with his unseen mother in suburban Montreal. Klein’s script keeps a tight lid on its protagonist, revealing few details about his livelihood or his evidently conflict-riven home life. As something of a challenge to audiences’ empathy, perhaps, the film presents Chris as he might appear to any stranger on the street — including Bobby, one of the few who doesn’t walk right by. Intercepting another of Jeremy’s attacks, the thirtysomething idler defends Chris and offers him a chance to retaliate — though it’s clear from his own aggressive method of intervention that Bobby is, at best, a tarnished white knight.

As the bemused Chris semi-voluntarily joins his rescuer for an episodic night of bar-crawling, party-crashing and an illicit early-hours escapade with Bobby’s pre-teen daughter Olivia (a bright, unaffected Brielle Robillard), it emerges that they’re effectively two different ages of man-child. Crippled by confidence issues, Chris hasn’t quite been permitted by others to mature; the cocksure Bobby, on the other hand, won’t permit himself to do so, and his flaky recklessness has cost him a marriage and a full-time relationship with his child. The film isn’t so pat as to set Bobby up as a cautionary tale for the younger man, however. Amid assorted errors of judgment, insight and encouragement is also dispensed — particularly with regard to Chris’ long-nursed, finally activated crush on Claire.

Feeling a little woolly in its pacing even at 82 minutes, “We’re Still Together” can’t entirely sustain our belief in the pair’s protracted joyride all the way until dawn, particularly as the penny drops fairly early for Chris that he’s in the presence of a charismatic car-wreck. Still, the warm, palpable bond between the two leads goes a long way towards selling its frayed-at-the-edges humanism. Klein, the director’s older brother and a writer-director in his own right, is particularly electric, turning on a dime from boyish benevolence to antic sadism to ineluctable sadness — “After You’ve Gone,” delivered at a particularly Eeyore-ish tempo, is his karaoke tune of choice. Though his film is principally a two-hander, the helmer and his ensemble don’t skimp on the smaller characterizations. In a few fleeting scenes, Diana Bentley registers scorching reserves of fury, confusion and painfully enduring love as Bobby’s ex-wife, while as the cautiously intrigued object of Chris’ affection, Harlow has a Kristen Stewart-like tartness of regard and expression.

Technical contributions are generally in keeping with the irregular, spontaneous air of proceedings. Pawel Pogorzelski’s camerawork could dial down the murk in a few scenes, but effectively captures the on-the-fly energy of the characters’ strange, heady all-nighter.

Film Review: 'We're Still Together'

Reviewed at Karlovy Vary Film Festival (competing), July 7, 2016. Running time: 82 MIN.

Production: (Canada) An Achromatic Media, Greenground presentation. Produced by Evren Boisjoli, Marley Sniatowski, Jesse Klein. Executive producer, Edouard Petel Ruiz. Co-producers, Simon Allard, Monique Walton, Joey Klein, Dustan Lewis McBain.

Crew: Directed, written by Jesse Klein. Camera (color, HD), Pawel Pogorzelski; editors, Klein, James Codoyannis; music, Alex Zhang Hungtai; music supervisor, Ryan MacDuff; production designer, Edith Jorisch; costume designer, Linny Ganten; sound (Dolby Digital), Dominik Heizmann; supervising sound editor, Matt R. Sherman; re-recording mixer, Sherman; associate producers, Claire Bargout, Ryan MacDuff.

With: Jesse Camacho, Joey Klein, Eve Harlow, Brielle Robillard, Diana Bentley, Marie Turgeon, Alex Weiner, Brittany Drisdelle, Trevor Hayes. (English, French dialogue)

More Film

  • Zachary LeviMTV Movie & TV Awards,

    MTV Movie & TV Awards Winners: The Complete List

    The MTV Movie & TV Awards are returning to television Monday, with host Zachary Levi and a number of pop culture favorites. Dominating this year’s nominations are front runners “Avengers: Endgame” and “Game of Thrones” with four nominations apiece, as well as the Oscar-nominated documentary “RBG,” which scored another four nods. This year’s show also [...]

  • Olivia Wilde Jon Ham Richard Jewell

    Olivia Wilde, Jon Hamm Join Clint Eastwood's 'Richard Jewell' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Olivia Wilde and Jon Hamm have joined the cast of Clint Eastwood’s already star-studded drama “Richard Jewell.” Paul Walter Hauser is set to star as the titular Jewell in Warner Bros.’ pic alongside Sam Rockwell as Jewell’s attorney and Kathy Bates as Jewell’s mother. The drama is based on Marie Brenner’s article in Vanity Fair [...]

  • Where the Wind Blows

    Hong Kong's 'Where the Wind Blows' Sidesteps Protests For China Promo

    Hong Kong film director Philip Yung and his cast were in Shanghai on Monday to promote their upcoming film “Where the Wind Blows.” They revealed new details while cautiously sidestepping — for the most part — the awkward issue of last week’s massive civil protests in Hong Kong against a controversial bill that would have [...]

  • Awkwafina Oscars 2019

    Awkwafina, Paul Rudd, Olivia Wilde Among Maui Film Festival Honorees

    Held in beautiful Wailea, Hawaii, the 2019 Maui Film Festival honored Awkwafina, Paul Rudd, Olivia Wilde, Gina Rodriguez, Maya Erskine and Joe Manganiello with awards at this year’s festival running June 12-16. In addition to screening films and hosting several food and culture events, the film fest gave out awards to the actors for their [...]

  • Dee Rees

    Dee Rees Directing 'Kyd's Exquisite Follies' Movie Musical

    “Mudbound” director Dee Rees will direct independent movie musical fantasy “The Kyd’s Exquisite Follies” from her own script. “The Kyd’s Exquisite Follies” will be produced by Cassian Elwes, one of the “Mudbound” producers. Santigold is set to compose the music, with Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic creating the film’s visual effects. Endeavor Content is repping the [...]

  • The Paradise

    Shanghai Film Review: 'The Paradise'

    Although gritty dramas about the hell of drug addiction are seldom in short supply in the low-budget independent sphere, it’s hard to imagine even the most uncompromising U.S. film committing quite as tenaciously to the idea of the bleak futility and probable failure of rehabilitation as Shih Han Liao’s compelling downer “The Paradise” (title ironic). [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content