AFF Review: The Get Together

Shakey Graves and friends grow apart in this Austin dramedy

Local Austin celebrity folk musician Alejandro Rose-Garcia (better known as Shakey Graves) stars in The Get Together, an ensemble comedy centering on three separate storylines all occurring at a single Friday night house party on our very own Speedway.

The aptly-titled Texas Independent Feature nominee follows recent graduates August (Courtney Parchman), Betsy (Johanna Braddy), Damien (Jacob Artist), and Caleb (Rose-Garcia) as they each navigate their own individual romantic, career, and friendship turmoils. Though the film takes place in Austin and feels based on the experience of mainly UT graduates, the conflicts are all universal in a way that makes every character feel as if he or she could easily be a distant Facebook friend from high school. Despite being a definitive, borderline slapstick, comedy, every self-deprecating joke and comedic scenario drips with truth in a way that makes it clear writer-director Will Bakke and his co-writer Michael B. Allen have pulled directly from their own experiences.

While the premise of The Get Together is a fairly common one, the magic of the film lies in its strong character performances. Every scene has an ethereal quality to it as well, that can be attributed to the skillful artistic eye of cinematographer Joe Simon, who made the most of the production’s rain-plagued, strictly-nighttime shoots. The coming of age comedy, produced by Bakke and Allen’s own self-founded Riot Studios, feels like a love letter to not only the turmoil of being in one’s 20’s but to the city of Austin itself. The film features gorgeous neon shots of various hotspots around town, as well as a soundtrack made up of music from local bands.

Parchman shines in the introductory section of this three-part saga, playing an enthusiastic yet also incredibly genuine ride-share driver. For those unfamiliar with his parallel career as an actor, Rose-Garcia (Spy Kids 3-D, Friday Night Lights, etc.) also gives a phenomenal performance as Caleb, a struggling band member still in love with his ex-girlfriend Betsy. Braddy glows as Betsy, the popular girl-next-door visiting Austin for the weekend with her boyfriend from grad school in NYC, while also coming to terms with the way she and her old friends have changed since college.

It is this growing apart, for better or worse, that threads each of the three storylines in The Get Together to each other - a theme anyone who has gone through a major life change will be able to connect to.

The Get Together

Texas Independent Feature, World Premiere

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