YNMS: Give Us "Permission"
Monday, December 4, 2017 at 3:33PM
JA in Blurb Whore, Dan Stevens, Fran├žois Arnaud, Gina Gershon, Rebecca Hall, Romantic Comedies, Tribeca, Yes No Maybe So

by Jason Adams

Raise your hand if you're a Rebecca Hall fan! I feel as if I can see a virtual sea of hands waving in front of me, as well I should in a post-Christine world where she's shown us just exactly how much she's capable of putting on-screen. If only more awards bodies had taken notice last year... or this year too, actually, where she turned in another very fine piece of work in Professor Marston and the Wonder Women. Shame she's getting over-looked, but lucky for us she's not going anywhere.

Next year's she re-teaming with the man who gave her her big break in the movies (that would be Woody Allen, so I hope she's got her talking points in order) but before that she's got Permission coming out, a romantic drama about longtime partners opening up their relationship that co-stars Dan Stevens...

Yours truly already reviewed it out of Tribeca. Here's a hint of what I said:

"Permission knows what movie you think you're sitting down to watch, and so Permission goes out of its way to be sexier (this is a surprisingly sexy movie that takes full advantage of its very pretty people) and smarter and funnier and more inclined towards actually exploring these people and not using them as chessboard ciphers going through romantic motions on a prescribed route. It's like a romantic comedy before we had Rom-Coms."

Or as the just-dropped trailer for the movie put it:

I'll try not to go too crazy excited about my very first Trailer Blurb happening (I already did that over at MNPP the other day) but I figured I should, you know, point that out, since it shows my bias in the "Yes No Maybe So" I'm about to do for this trailer. Of course I was already biased since I already saw the movie and it was good! But let me work that out YNMS-style for y'all


Besides Rebecca Hall & Dan Stevens this movie's cast is stuffed with a great big bunch of good people - there's Gina Gershon, Francios Arnaud, David Joseph Craig, Jason Sudekis, Bridget Everett, Raul Castillo, and Morgan Spector (Rebecca's real-life partner playing gay). Good people putting in solid work.

I shouldn't say "besides Rebecca Hall & Dan Stevens" though since they're the charming sexy heart, body and soul of this thing, and they deliver. These might not be revelatory performances a la their work in Christine and The Guest respectively, but they manage to build a core to this thing that's worth caring about. 

And I'm glad I'm the one who got to point out in the trailer that this movie is sexy - excuse me, "SEXIER" - because it is indeed very sexy. I could run through how good the whole cast looks but let's just pin-point a couple: Hall hasn't been shot this gorgeously since Vicky Christina Barcelona, while Arnaud & Spector both basically set the screen on fire. 

Also the gay storyline in the film (between Spector and David Joseph Craig, who plays Hall's brother) gets treated with as much depth as the leads' does, which is part of what makes the film so refreshing. It has time for everybody in its little universe.


The film veers sitcommy at times, which you can see in the edit in the trailer with the dropped dishes punctuating a conversation. There are tonal issues where it goes needlessly broad.

Visually it's pretty straightforward too - mostly shot-reverse-shot stuff that you see in every mainstream rom-com. It makes them all look gorgeous but if it had been shot a little more daringly it might've felt as happily curious as its performances. 


I guess it ultimately depends on your tolerance for rom-coms - this one spins a surprising amount of gold out of reworking those old formulas, but the old formulas are still there. Don't go in expecting your life changed or your earthly foundation shaken to its core and you'll have a lovely time watching extremely talented and beautiful actors get to shine. That is often just plenty!

Permission is out on February 9th.

Article originally appeared on The Film Experience (http://thefilmexperience.net/).
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