Unrelated

Unrelated ★★★½

We've seen plenty of movies about men having a midlife crisis, and so it is refreshing to see a rare example of a movie that highlights what the experience can feel like from a woman's perspective. The movie follows Anna (Kathryn Worth), who arrives for a vacation with friends, to their surprise, without her partner. We get glimpses into their relationship throughout through sporadic phone calls and can piece together that their relationship is in trouble and that her arriving by herself is part of it. But it also quickly becomes clear that there is a greater turmoil within her that comes with simply getting older. 

The film explores this in an interesting way. Anna begins to gravitate toward the 'kids' (who are probably in their early 20's?) and begins spending more time with them and less with the friends she came to see. Among them is Oakley (played by a young Tom Hiddleston), whose youthful confidence and as of yet undiminished potential quickly captivates her. There are a lot of scenes that highlight the unbridgeable chasm between the adults and the (as the film refers to them) 'youngs', and the fault lines only become more and more apparent as the film goes on until, inevitably, circumstances force Anna to come back down to earth and make a decision about the person she wants to be. 

Joanna Hogg's Unrelated is in a lot of ways a small, quiet movie. It's introspective. It does a lot of showing without telling. I'm sure there are a chorus of voices online somewhere complaining that nothing happens in it. But it is an eminently relatable movie on a universal human level. Anna's uncertainty about the future and unhappiness about being stuck is something every single one of us has felt before, and Hogg captures that feeling here. It's primarily a film about disruption. We see it in one of the framing devices (Anna's sleep is disrupted by the raucous young people early on, and later when it happens again after things have come more or less full circle). The attempt to disrupt a life stuck in a rut. The disruption of a relationship by vacationing alone and considering other options. The attempt to disrupt aging by hanging out with 'youngs'. There's a sadness that underlies the film in knowing that many of these disruptions are only temporary fixes, but also a hopefulness in that they can serve as a way to help better understand where we are in life and the current moment and appreciate it more. You could do worse than choosing to disrupt your day for 90+ minutes to check this one out if any of the mood described above sounds appealing.

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