Theatrical Review: EASIER WITH PRACTICE

by: James Wallace
February 25th, 2010

This review was originally published on June 13, 2009 as a CineVegas Film Festival review.

"Language, communication, relationships, sex — they all get easier with practice. And they are all the elements that infuse lurid life into writer/director Kyle Alvarez's provocative film about a man who establishes a sexual relationship with someone he’s never seen.

To promote his unpublished novel, Davy Mitchell sets out on a road trip with his younger brother. Yet, the initial novelty quickly wears off and the road life turns lonely and unfulfilling for Davy. Then, one night in a motel room, a random phone call from a mysterious woman named Nicole ignites a funny and intimate long-distance relationship that leaves Davy happier than he has been in years. Hoping there is more to his new reality than a voice and a phone bill, Davy decides he must meet Nicole. Ultimately, his decision means he must face not only the truth about his relationship but also the truth about himself." (official festival synopsis)

EASIER WITH PRACTICE explores human connection...its mysteries, its hardships, its benefits. The film shows what it is to have a relationship with someone beyond looks or physical touch. It shows the longing to love and be loved in a world where you're not understood. It poses the question "what if you met someone and fell in love but you could never see see this person, never touch them, or be with them? What if all you had was their voice?"

The film is a fascinating portrayal of all these things seen through the character of Davy, played with amazing emotionality and authenticity by Brian Geraghty (JARHEAD). As Davy builds a relationship with this person over the phone, partly based on phone sex and partly based on a longing to have someone, he begins to shut out the outside world. He turns away from real-life connection that he can hold and touch for something that is fantasy- something that he doesn't have to truly open himself up to. The film explores these things in such a way that it reels you in to the emotion, never letting go when you think it will, but only pulling you more into the character's loneliness.

Director Alvarez accomplishes this with his camera. The shots are chosen well, sometimes being outside of a building looking in to show the character's isolation in the spaces he operates. At other times it is right there in the face, pulling you into to the pure emotion or awkwardness taking place. The cinematography of the film is beautiful, capturing both middle America on the road and the middle of a person's soul, in its deepest pain and happiness.

The soundtrack is also well chosen, filled with music that pairs perfectly to enhance the scene. Where most films compile indie music and the latest "it" bands as some sort of mix tape, EASIER WITH PRACTICE uses what fits the emotion. Just as you play songs in your head at times of happiness or sorrow, the film provides a soundtrack to the film's sentiment.

The film accomplishes so much in showing what it is to want to love and be loved. It shows that love knows no boundaries. It does so in such a raw and honest way, making EASIER WITH PRACTICE a wonderful insight to human connection. In the end, the film shows that no matter how much easier relationships comes with practice, you will never be fully prepared for love.

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