Editor’s Notes: In Stereo opens in limited release and on VOD today, July 3rd.
New York is the home of independent romantic comedies, with a clichéd presence as the setting of nearly every single one. In Stereo is billed as an independent romantic comedy. Many New York-set independent romantic comedies fail to be anything more than “alright,” so how does In Stereo fare?
It fares very well, separating itself from the pack by dealing with themes other than “Look how cute these two attractive people are together.”
Itfares very well, separating itself from the pack by dealing with themes other than “Look how cute these two attractive people are together.” As for what it’s about, the plot’s fairly simple. David, a photographer, many months after splitting up with Brenda, an aspiring actress, begins to experience confusion about his newest relationship. A chance encounter with Brenda in the thick of this confusion doesn’t help, leading to questions of infidelity, emotional maturity, and the state of ideal relationships. These questions make up the majority of the 95 minute runtime, whether dealt with internally or externally.
The comedy isn’t a side note alongside romance, it’s a result of how the film deals with the subject matter.
Not all of these questions are necessarily answered, however, which feeds into the theme of 30-something romantic confusion. There’s a clear pair of leads who are overtly compatible, but the writing critiques assumptions about the outcome of such compatibility. Neither party is really sure what to pursue, because they each want aspects of each other, but separate things as well. They vocalize these needs very confidently, making them characters who pique interest. With that in mind, it’s also not exactly a romantic comedy. I’d classify it as a relationship-based comedy. The comedy isn’t a side note alongside romance, it’s a result of how the film deals with the subject matter.
In terms of being an independent film, it’s shot fantastically and, as mentioned earlier, is written with what seems like casual nuance. The cast gives off a charisma and familiarity, though mostly composed of unfamiliar faces, and lends a hefty amount of credibility to every scene. No amateur performances to be found here. There’s a vulnerability required for the characters to fully resonate with viewers, seeing as the whole film is based around each one being unsure of themselves. And, the chosen cast brings that in spades.
In Stereo is an entertaining and fully competent indie gem that deserves a wider audience. Director Mel Rodriguez III should give himself a pat on the back.
In Stereo is an entertaining and fully competent indie gem that deserves a wider audience.