Mutual Appreciation

Mutual Appreciation

2007, R, 110 min. Directed by Andrew Bujalski. Starring Justin Rice, Rachel Clift, Andrew Bujalski, Seung-Min Lee, Kevin Micka, Bill Morrison.

REVIEWED By Marrit Ingman, Fri., Oct. 27, 2006

This indie rambler was my favorite movie of South by Southwest 05, where it premiered. But before I go any further, let’s establish that Mutual Appreciation is not for you if you go to the movies to see things blown up or if you expect such conventional niceties as a three-act structure or lighting effects not achieved by yanking up a window shade. Writer/director/actor Bujalski has been compared to Rohmer and branded the “emo Cassavetes”: His movies have an astoundingly lifelike rhythm. Conversations sometimes drag on too long, as they do in real life. (When was the last time a conversation ended exactly when and how you wanted it to?) The film opens in the middle of a discussion of vegetarian iron deficiency and moves on as twee popster Alan (Rice) finds a drummer (Micka) to gig with, half-heartedly gets involved with an underground DJ (Lee), and confronts his feelings for his best friend’s girlfriend (Clift). The movie is made of small moments; they add up in your mind to something bigger later, the way life does outside of movies. Bujalski’s milieu is the postgraduate headspace, the years of putting off a day job and sleeping on somebody’s floor, and he’s understatedly funny about it. (“So, I don’t have any chairs or anything,” says one indie kid. “But you can sit down.”) Rice, who stole the show with a small part in Bujalski’s Funny Ha Ha, from 2002, is infectiously watchable, a rumpled and slouchy rock-nerd antihero. During one night of misadventures that won’t end, he ends up quite naturally in drag with an apartment full of strangers, trying but failing at drunken, labyrinthine conversation and sitting on an accent table. This is serious business to Alan, who finally whimpers to the woman applying his eye shadow: “Do you have a boyfriend?” Filmmaker Bujalski will attend the 7:35 and 10:10pm screenings of his film on Saturday and the 5 and 7:35pm shows on Sunday for a Q&A.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Andrew Bujalski
AFS Spotlights the Early Work of <I>Support the Girls</I> Director Andrew Bujalski
AFS Spotlights the Early Work of Support the Girls Director Andrew Bujalski
Three from the heart

Kimberley Jones, Jan. 4, 2019

Andrew Bujalski Pumps Up With <i>Results</i>
Andrew Bujalski Pumps Up With Results
Microbudget auteur increases marketability with fitness fable

Michael Agresta, May 29, 2015

More Andrew Bujalski
SXSW Film Review: <i>Support the Girls</i>
Review: Support the Girls
Andrew Bujalski sets a feminist comedy in a sexy sports bar? Bold move.

Ashley Moreno, March 10, 2018

Austin Film Society Announces 2015 Grants
Austin Film Society Announces 2015 Grants
Newcomers and established names get AFS boost

Richard Whittaker, Sept. 1, 2015

More Andrew Bujalski Films
Support the Girls
The hidden rules of life in Andrew Bujalksi's breastaurant comedy

Danielle White, Aug. 24, 2018

Indie filmmaker Andrew Bujalski enlists Guy Pearce and others for his new movie

Kimberley Jones, May 29, 2015

More by Marrit Ingman
Wonder Stories
Wonder Stories

July 25, 2008

King Corn
The film’s light hand, appealing style, and simple exposition make it an eminently watchable inquiry into the politics of food, public health, and the reasons why corn has become an ingredient in virtually everything we eat.

Nov. 9, 2007


Mutual Appreciation, Andrew Bujalski, Justin Rice, Rachel Clift, Andrew Bujalski, Seung-Min Lee, Kevin Micka, Bill Morrison

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle