By Josiah Wampfler
I will admit that I have always been a sucker for a good romantic film. I love a good rom-com like 13 Going on 30 and I think that Titanic is a beautiful masterpiece. Maybe I get it from my mother, who would agree with me on those points, but I think that we all can enjoy a good love story because most of us have been in love. So, when I heard about a small, little indie romance called EVER I simply had to check it out.
EVER is the story of a woman of the same name who lost her long-time boyfriend a year earlier in a car accident. She is deeply depressed and is moving through her life like a ghost. She can’t move past what happened. Then, in the midst of all this, she meets a woman named Emily, who she begins to develop romantic feelings towards.
Even though the romance involved in this film is between two women, it is unfair and untrue to categorize EVER as simply a “lesbian film.” What makes this film so powerful and so wonderful is that it is a typical romance in many ways, it just happens to be between two women. I loved this.
The film takes the best parts of the romance genre and the best parts of indie filmmaking and combines them to make a wonderfully touching story. It manages to perfectly walk the line between feeling heightened and completely down to Earth. While the situations the characters find themselves in are not exactly normal, they make for a compelling story. And while the performances by the cast are extremely real and the dialogue almost mundane, the film is never dull.
And it is these performances that made me love the film so much. Wendy McColm and Christina Elizabeth Smith play Ever and Emily, respectively, and are absolutely phenomenal. They have perfect chemistry and manage to portray the early stages of a romance in the most convincing, nuanced way. Through their performances, we see all the relationship’s rough edges. We see all the awkward, giddy, uncomfortable moments that are part of the beginning of any romantic relationship. All of these moments are what contribute to the authenticity of the film.
The stunning performances by McColm and Smith are supported by beautiful cinematography as well. Interestingly, director Josh Beck and his cinematographer Micah Van Hove decided to shoot EVER only using what light Los Angeles gave them, rarely bringing in additional lights. This makes much of the film fairly dark, but also extremely beautiful. Just as the romance we see on screen is raw and has its rough edges, so too does the look of the film have its own.
One of the most interesting aspects of the film though, is the way it was released. Because of an incredible soundtrack (That I have been listening to non-stop since I first saw the film) filled with many great indie artists, and the extremely low-budget the filmmakers had to work with, they were not able to legally sell the film. The music royalties they would have to pay were just too much. So instead, director Josh Beck released the film for free on Vimeo so people could see the film with this amazing soundtrack. I would encourage anyone to check it out and donate to the filmmakers’ PayPal as well.
Even though EVER is a free film on Vimeo made for $12,000 and stars actors you have never heard of, it is easily one of the best films I’ve seen in a while. If it had come out last year, it probably would have even made my Top Ten. It just goes to show you that you don’t need millions of dollars to make a beautiful, compelling film. Instead, great films come from having a great vision and the right actors to pull it off.