Tribeca 2018: In a Relationship

Emma Roberts and Michael Angarano in In a Relationship. Photo credit: Nolwen Cifuentes.

Set against the backdrop of a Los Angeles summer, In a Relationship is a dramedy that tries to get at what is it about a relationship that makes us happy.

In making the film, Sam Boyd has marked his feature directorial debut.  He does so by basing the screenplay on his acclaimed 2015 short film.  What the film does in essence is take the romantic comedy genre and takes away a lot of the nonsense that people find annoying.

In one corner, we have Hallie (Emma Roberts) and Owen (Michael Angarano).  In another corner, we have Hallie’s cousin, Willa (Dree Hemingway) and Owen’s buddy, Matt (Patrick Gibson).  As Hallie and Owen are on the outs around the July 4th Independence Day holiday, Willa and Matt are allowing their relationship to bloom.  There’s a lot of meet-cutes in cinematic history but perhaps none can be as hysterical as the first on-camera meeting between Willa and Matt.  The film builds up to the moment in which they officially decide that they’re a couple.

Despite their issues, Hallie makes the suggestion of moving in with Owen as a way to help with his rent payment issues.  She’s spending so much time at his place so naturally, it makes perfect sense.  By August, things have reached the point in their relationship in which they decide that it’s time for a break.

Matt, for what its worth, has some quirks of his own by way of a color-coded bookcase and rocket-ship comforter.  He lives at home with his parents, both of whom he says are “working on a Marvel movie in Atlanta.”  By taking his parents out of the picture for a few months, they manage to avoid any parental conflict that has become so cliche in the genre.

With the abundance of romantic comedies, there are films in which people can’t relate to the characters.  What Boyd does with the genre is get rid of a lot of that.  The characters feel real enough that we can buy into the authenticity of the characters.  This is one of the things that can be enjoyed in not only the script but the performances, too.  It wouldn’t work without their chemistry either.  There’s some interesting moments that take place following the break-up but it’s best experienced without knowing what happens.

With characters that feel very real, In A Relationship isn’t a genre game-changer by any means but still presents a fresh take on the romantic comedy.


CAST:  Emma Roberts, Michael Angarano, Dree Hemingway, Patrick Gibson, Jay Ellis, Melora Walters

An official selection of the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, In a Relationship will premiere in the Spotlight Narrative program.

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.

2 thoughts on “Tribeca 2018: In a Relationship

  1. I just read your review of ‘In a Relationship’. My first take was they’re having relationship issues so now they decide to move in with each other?? But being “Cardophile” myself and seeing that you live close to Wrigley but still write stuff for the Redbird Rants (I love it!) I’m going to take your word and put the movie on my watch list.

    Actually, I think I’ve read at least one of your Rants. By the way, I coined the term Cardophile to describe myself, at least I think it’s original, but please feel free to use it if you like.


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