Say My Name, written by Deborah Frances-White and directed by Jay Stern, is an indie comedy filled with unexpected twists and surprises. Set over the course of a single night, the film follows a couple whose one-night stand gets interrupted by a robbery, setting off an increasingly crazy series of events.
This movie’s story is multi-layered, but not in a way that feels overly convoluted. There are a lot of moving parts in the film, and when they all come together, the result is extremely satisfying and entertaining. This movie isn’t particularly plot-driven, with the focus placed more firmly on the character arcs, although the story is so wacky that you can’t help but have fun with it.
The biggest success of this film is that it manages to make two really compelling leads out of characters that may not otherwise be likable. In the beginning of the movie, we are just thrown into their lives, and by the end, we have come to see them as real and likable people. The reason that this is so successful is that the film shows us why we should care about them instead of delivering backstory through exposition.
Furthermore, the relationship between the two leads goes a long way in making both of them more sympathetic on an individual level. A one-night stand is by no means an easy relationship to develop, as the audience can’t see the bond form or be tested over time. Instead, the whole arc of the relationship has to be pushed into the course of a single night, often causing exposition to be shoved in. Luckily, this movie is able to avoid that.
Part of the reason that the relationship feels real and buyable is the legitimate chemistry that the two stars have together. Lisa Brenner and Nick Blood light up the screen together. The scenes in which their characters are bouncing off each other are the best in the film. It is interesting to see their dynamic change from being at each other’s throats in the beginning to bantering playfully towards the end.
The movie’s pacing is definitely very good, largely because of the unpredictable nature of the script. You never know where the story is going to go next, so you are kept on the edge of your seat for the brisk runtime of under and hour and a half. Additionally, there is a level of energy to the editing, and the cinematography takes advantage of the confined spaces, further building excitement and suspense.
The humor also goes a long way in making the film an enjoyable watch. Much of the humor, especially in the first half of the movie, is dark and tongue-in-cheek, and will get a lot of laughs as such. In the latter part of the film, this does begin to slack off and is replaced by a more sentimental type of humor, but it is still mostly funny.
Say My Name begins looking like it is going to be a party movie, but instead turns into a refreshing and unorthodox romance. This type of movie sadly goes under-the-radar far too often, so definitely check this one out if you get the chance.
Say My Name is now in select theaters and on VOD.