Review: WRITE WHEN YOU GET WORK Offers A Confusing Heist Romance

FIRST IMPRESSION

Write When You Get Work shows signs of potential, but isn't able to find its own identity in time to become a cohesive film.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Writing
Directing
Acting
Technical Merit

Write When You Get Work is a new film written and directed by Stacy Cochran and starring Finn Wittrock (American Horror Story), Emily Mortimer (The Bookshop), and Rachel Keller (Legion). The movie is about the head of admissions of an exclusive private school, a man from her past, and the mother of one of her students as their lives become intertwined. It debuted at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival.

This film’s biggest issue is that it can’t really decide what it wants to be. There is just so much happening in the story that it is hard to figure out what is really going on and what should be the focus of our attention. At first glance, the story seems to wrap itself up nicely, but then you realize that the ending is not the satisfying conclusion of all that came before.

This is both a romantic comedy and a heist film, but it doesn’t feel fully developed as either. The movie tries its hardest to get the audience to buy into the romance, but it just didn’t resonate. Simply putting characters through a tough ordeal early in their life doesn’t mean that their romance will be compelling. The heist, on the other hand, feels like it comes out of nowhere. It results from a sudden tonal shift.

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Finn Wittrock on the set of Write When You Get Work. Courtesy of George H. Price Productions.

The characters also aren’t all that sympathetic. They each do some weird things over the course of the film that make them far less relatable to the audience. For example, the protagonist Jonny has a few scenes in which he seems like he is stalking Ruth. This made Jonny less likable. The supporting characters are also severely underdeveloped.

That being said, the movie somehow manages to stay mostly entertaining. There are a few moments in which it becomes slightly annoying, especially towards the beginning, but the film works for the most part. There are multiple funny scenes, and while the story isn’t the most compelling or relatable, it is surprisingly well-paced and interesting.

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James Ransone and Emily Mortimer on the set of Write When You Get Work. Courtesy of George H. Price Productions.

The execution of the movie is good too. The cinematography and editing are both very strong. The sleek and stylish look of the heist film combined surprisingly well with the high saturation of the romantic comedy. The score was also really good. It offers a blend of jazzy and electronic sounds that accent the movie well.

The actors do a very good job in their roles too. Finn Wittrock is as excellent as ever as the protagonist. He manages to take some of the least likable characters and turn them into some of the most alluring because of his charm and wit. Emily Mortimer also gives a solid turn. Even though her character doesn’t give her particularly much to do, she makes the most of it nonetheless.

Overall, Write When You Get Work was somewhat disappointing. It was mostly enjoyable, but it was not clear enough to be great.

Write When You Get Work is now in select theaters.

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Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

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