I think the reason why director Emma Forrest was able to make this work is because she knows what she has in her two leads- Jemima and Lola Kirke. The pair has found a plethora of success in the film and television industry, you've previously seen one of them in Girls, Mistress America, or the independent hit Gemini, but this is the first time the sisters have been in the same frame together. It makes things believable, with a laid back chemistry, and supported by a strong script written by Forrest. Untogether is a witty and smart film.
Andrea is a bit lost at the moment, she's hooking up with a fellow writer Nick (50 Shades of Grey actor Jamie Dornan) or is it a relationship? They don't really know, but they certainly enjoy each other's company. Tara is dating a struggling rockstar- Martin (Ben Mendelsohn)- and when she decides to get involved at her local synagogue, she meets Rabbi David (Billy Crystal) who inspires her to be a part of a community, and also strikes a chord with any past issues she had with her father. The narrative bounces back and forth between their struggles, conversations in bed, debates about their careers over coffee, heartbreak at parties, and sometimes they even merge together to make sweet connections.
Now, Untogether is not without it's flaws, there are subplots about Nick's career and relationship with his manager Irene (a seldome seen Alice Eve) that feel undercooked, the narrative loses a bit of focus on who's story matters the most, but when dive into the meat of the film I was into it. I find it extremely difficult to make a film about the fractured relationships of today and how truly hard it is to find love in today's environment. Untogether finds a fantastic connection between these characters that feels real and lived in.
The final result is a movie that shows off extremely talented young actors- Jemima Kirke is a delight to see dancing to R.E.M's “Shiny Happy People”- and a director in-tune with what love is all about. Emma Forrest has made an impressive directorial debut, making her an important voice for cinema, and one to watch in the future. Untogether might seem conventional to some, I found it had the pieces that fit just right.
Written by: Leo Brady
STARRING: JEMIMA KIRKE; LOLA KIRKE; JAMIE DORNAN; BEN MENDELSOHN; BILLY CRYSTAL
DIRECTED BY: EMMA FORREST
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
No matter how much of a fan I was of Woody Allen's work, it has been a long time coming for his past to catch up to him, which leaves a much needed gap for relationship narratives, ushering in welcomed new voices to step forward in filmmaking. I watched Untogether, while avoiding the bitter cold in Chicago, and to my surprise, it made for the perfect film to keep me warm. It's directed and written by Emma Forrest, following the love life's of two sisters- Andrea (Jemima Kirke) and Tara (Lola Kirke)- living in Los Angeles and both at points in life searching for a spark that will wake them from their stale experiences. Andrea is a writer, trying to find the success she once had and Tara is seeking a spiritual revival through her religious faith. Their relationship dysfunction, sarcastic humor, and delightful charm makes Untogether a perfect example of what love looks like in 2019.