Permission: Dan Stevens Can’t Save This Troubled Rom-Com

Rebecca Hall as Anna, Francois Arnaud as Dane. Photo credit: Cameron Bertron.

Dan Stevens may be one of the hardest working people in show business but the talented actor isn’t enough to save predictable romantic comedy Permission.

Written and directed by Brian Crano, the cast includes Rebecca Hall, Dan Stevens, Gina Gershon, Francois Arnaud, David Joseph Craig, Morgan Spector, and Jason Sudeikis.

How far is a couple willing to go to sow that they are committed to each other?  Would it make sense to risk their monogamous relationship by opening it up to the idea of having a sexual relationship with another person and still be alright with their significant other?  This is what the premise of Permission is initially asking us and it’s wildly predictable at best.

Anna (Hall) and Will (Stevens) have been together for ten years.  Turning 30 and being told that she shouldn’t panic, Anna should be getting on with the rest of her life and look forward to that looming proposal from her boyfriend, Will.  If only it were that perfect.  Before Will can even get the words out of his mouth, Anna’s brother, Hale (Craig), and Reece (Spector), are drunk enough to the point that Will’s friend and business partner, Reece, suggest that maybe they consider sleeping with other people before they get married.

In opening up the relationship to other people, things go well for Anna to an extent more so than they do for Will.  Anna meets Dane (Arnaud), and he’s a musician, of course, so the two will share a lot in common—but before they have sex for the first time, she texts Will to make sure he’s truly okay with this.  Of course, Will says yes because the movie would come to an end if he doesn’t.

In the meantime, Will ends up meeting Lydia (Gershon) and gets turned on to things that he would have never done with Anna.  It’s an adjustment as the two of them explore what their new comfort levels are as the film tests our patience with the direction in which it chooses to go.

SNL alumnus Jason Sudeikis displayed so much growth as an actor in last year’s Colossal.  In fact, his addition to the cast doesn’t do much for the film other than his character, Glenn, serving as the inspiration for one of the film’s plot points between two characters wishing to be fathers.  It’s possible that the relationship between Hale and Reece and their focus on whether or not it’s time to look into having children would have made for a better film.  Hale wants it to happen but Reece displays some reluctance on his part.

Aesthetically speaking, there are things to enjoy in Permission.  As predictable as the premise may be, the film’s cinematographer Adam Bricker is able to capture the intimacy of the on-screen performances.  While the camera keeps movement to a minimum, all the framing is focused on the actors more so than what’s going on in the background.

Permission is the type of film that one knows exactly where it’s going almost as soon as it starts–for better or worse.


Premiering at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, Good Deed Entertainment opens Permission in select theaters and VOD platforms on February 9, 2018.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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