Directed by: Ricardo Perez-Selsky
Written by: Chase Hinton
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IRL ( In Real Life )
Ian ( Chase Hinton ) is the textbook example of a man searching for something. He pays his bills freelancing his design skills, in particular making logos. He longs to get his artwork seen and accepted, and he's looking for the perfect woman. At the start of this title, Ian seems destined to a never ending spew of one-off dates with women he's met online through a dating app. The perfect woman seems to elude him, even potential women seem few and far between. Now with his friend leaving for a few months, Ian faces the real prospect of being alone. That is until he sends a message to Sophia ( Johanna Sol ) and receives a response. This woman seems so perfect and in Ian's mind, it's a match made in heaven if he doesn't screw it up.
Ricardo Perez-Selsky's film IRL tackles the world of dating apps and today's take on meeting women online. Chase Hinton's character Ian is an average, yet lovable everyman looking for his version of the perfect woman. After meeting Sophia after a few minutes of crappy blind dates, she seems instantly perfect for our antagonist, but we know something isn't right because the movie has only just begun. That's when IRL begins to play with its audience, teasing that Sophia may in fact not be who she says she is, before roping us right back with the notion that maybe she is, maybe Ian is going to screw this potentially perfect match. As the film progresses we also learn Ian's past isn't all that great; possibly illuminating some light on why he can't seem to find that perfect woman to start with. He seems the black sheep of his family, and even his ex girlfriend continues to use him as a booty call. Ian is not perfect, but really deserves a perfect woman. Doesn't he?
I really enjoyed the back and forth of Ian wondering if Sophia is who she says, followed by his feelings of guilt for doubting her. It keeps this title interesting, but not perfect. IRL is a slower moving drama that relies on overly long single shots, and close ups allow Hinton to establish his thoughts and feelings. He does a great job, but it does lead to some pacing issues. If this film was finessed a little more in the editing room, I feel the pace would have been dramatically improved. Sometimes a few minutes can make a big difference. Especially with a film that only features a very small amount of cast members onscreen.
IRL is a film not everyone is going to get into. It's for those who appreciate a more nuanced approach to filmmaking, a throwback to movie makers of old. IRL is a deeper than expected title and for a micro-budget film, it far exceeded any of my expectations. Worth the time for anyone who likes a good drama, or even romance.