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Narcissism: Noun - Excessive or erotic interest in oneself and one's physical appearance.
Reviewed in the United States on November 15, 2018
Narcissist: The Movie
This is a tale of two viewings.
This review may appear unorthodox at first glance, but in many ways, so is this film, as are my observations.
I was joined by my other half for the initial viewing. When I say my other half, I’m referring to the one individual that knows me best, as a friend, as a lover and as my muse. We communicate with and without words. Proximity is our fuel when we share the same space, as we did one recent evening to share our love of film and for each other. Without any knowledge or preconceptions of this film, we seldom spoke past the opening title.
As the film opens, the main characters are introduced through their body language and facial expressions, with minimal dialog so not to distract the viewer from analyzing which one of the two define narcissism. If at all.
Soft natural lighting relays a sense of being a fly on the wall for both locations, actually just one, by introducing actor Hunter Lee Hughes, as Evan, at the keyboard of his laptop, engrossed by the muted silence of his office that is suddenly and quietly interrupted by the computer announcing the arrival Rob, played by actor Brionne Davis, stealing away the silence and stillness of the room with his voice but not his presence, as he is a two dimensional visual cue speaking from within Evan’s laptop. The same computer that Evan is working on a screenplay, is also the conduit for Rob, who is framed on the computer screen with the video camera image adorned by a childlike, but yet adult in theory, nameplate over Rob’s image shouting in a Crayola-like font, “Video Chat with HOTDOC4U”. This allows our main characters to break the silence without distraction. Haphazardly attached to the wall above Evan, hangs a sign stating “Line of the day - Thank you for the affection”. This sets the stage and the philosophy of this film all the way to the closing credits.
Perhaps that line could be an anology for Evan and Rob’s relationship or a suggestive element for the script Evan is massaging with the staccato clicking of the keyboard. Never the less, Evan continues to coax his fingers across the keys as the opening dialog provides clues of definite tension between Evan and Rob, with Rob’s sarcastic vocal mannerisms, reveling a past romance that he continues to feed on, even if it’s just a harmless virtual game for his ego, Evan appears hurt, but accepting of Rob’s lack of emotional sensitivity and maturity.
Without missing a beat, Rob admits to having this lustful interest, of a lover from his own past, blaming Evan to justify his own musings of infidelity because Evan appears unable to commit. So stereotypically gay, but true in this storyline and in real life.
In establishing this parallel, the movie launches forward with every frame convincing the audience of the authenticity of the modern day menu of a typical gay relationship, almost hanging by the thread of blame and doubt.
The seamless editing and exact cinematography begin to provide the source of Evan’s struggle in his relationship with Rob, through creative flashbacks and illusional sequences that feed on the genius storytelling for the remainder of the film. As to be expected, the characters face familiar challenges as they separate from each other and explore their lives apart. Dealing with loneliness, new and improved relationships so typical within the gay lifestyle.
Narcissist: The Movie, feels so familiar to many who have experienced the challenges in love, with trust and accepting the brutally honest reality of a lop-sided relationship that is destined to crash and burn.
This film is extremely authentic as it showcases the unique relationship templates that exist in all of society, but appear larger than life within Gay culture. The storyline pulls in the viewer quickly and doesn’t disappoint whatsoever. This was my takeaway at the conclusion of the movie. It wasn’t until after the ending credits transitioned to silence did my partner and I finally acknowledge a familiar comfort with the storyline. We both have experienced similar previous relationships. With uncomfortable laughter between us, we both assured the other, that the trust we have in our love for one another, would out live us both, forever. That was the tail of the first and initial viewing.
The following morning, I decided to watch the film for a second time, by myself. I wasn’t able to make it past the first scene without allowing my sub-conscience to poison my imagination and I began to tearfully weep into my second cup of coffee. I wasn’t able to continue at that point, because this film is brutally naked with emotions that left my heart wounded and in pain, as I sat alone in the kitchen.
I possess no memories or experiences similar to this story line and due to the cast’s effortless and naked portrayal of their characters, there was a brief moment where I was unable to differentiate the fiction and the non-fiction of this screenplay.
In other words, I cried like a baby in soiled diapers for the rest of the morning. I attribute this to the wealth of talent behind and in front of the camera.