SXSW Film Review: Person to Person

Ensemble slice-of-life comedy searches for the soul of New York City

Following half a dozen storylines over the course of a typical day in the city, Dustin Guy Defa’s Person to Person is a familiar indie archetype and a 16mm love letter to the Big Apple.

Defa’s New York is kinder than it realizes, and his characters are all deep-down decent despite the challenging situations they’re thrown into by the script – including a rookie tabloid reporter’s first day on the job, a teenager sorting through her (mostly theoretical) sexuality, the messy aftermath of revenge porn, and a mystery involving a rare Charlie Parker record.

Person to Person hits memorable comedic high notes when Michael Cera and Abbi Jacobson share the screen. The heart of the film, however, is the character played by Bene Coopersmith, a real-life record store owner and Defa’s neighbor in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Though Coopersmith’s storyline is as charmingly contrived as all the others in the film, his groovy onscreen comportment goes beyond the realm of narrative filmmaking and verges on documentary. Coopersmith is a slice of actual life snuck into an otherwise professionally executed festival commonplace, the New York City ensemble movie – and that’s just enough to make the old contraption hum.

Person to Person

Festival Favorites
Sunday, March 12, 10pm, Zach Theatre
Tuesday, March 14, 7pm, Alamo Ritz 1
Friday, March 17, 6.15pm, Alamo Lamar A

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SXSW Film, SXSW, SXSW Film 2017, Person to Person, Michael Cera, Abbi Jacobson, Guy Defa

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