BFI London Film Festival: Person to Person

Person to Person
Person to Person
Directed by Dustin Guy Defa
Starring Abbi Jacobson, Michael Cera, Tavi Gevinson, Bene Coopersmith, George Sample III, Philip Baker Hall, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Michaela Watkins, Olivia Luccardi, Ben Rosenfield, Buddy Duress, Eleonore Hendricks, Benny Safdie, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Okieriete Onandowan, Brian Tyree Henry, Steve Urbanski, Craig Butta, Dakota O’Hara and David Zellner
Screening at LFF October 9th, 11th, 2017

by Joanna Orland

A meandering but sometimes amusing character vignette set in New York City, Person to Person fails to make an impact, but has a few laughs and heartwarming moments along the way. Shot on 16mm film, the visuals are not the only retro aspect of the movie, as a dated soundtrack and old-fashioned way of storytelling prevail throughout.

Lost amongst the many small characters, stars Abbi Jacobson (Broad City) and Michael Cera (Arrested Development) are both completely underused, leading me to wonder why they even bothered to get involved with this mediocre film. Talent behind the much more impressive New York set film Good Time are also involved, as is mumblecore king Joe Swanberg as producer. There actually is something Swanbergian about Person to Person, but without the master at the helm, it lacks in its execution. David Lowery, also credited as producer, is responsible for work far greater and more innovative than this. I’m almost disappointed to see their names attached.

A mildly humorous film, it is of course Michael Cera who gets the most laughs – it seems that he doesn’t even need to try anymore, his face is enough to get an audience response. He’s not the only one getting the giggles as each main character has humour in their situation or personality, giving a soulful performance in their own unique way. But somehow, the lo fi portmanteau never quite satisfies, disparate as if it were many short films woven together with loose thread.


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