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« Celebrating "Waitress": 10 Years Later | Main | Review: "The Circle" with Tom Hanks and Emma Watson »
Tuesday
May022017

Tribeca 2017: Nobody's Watching

We've still got some Tribeca reviews to catch up on, so here's Jason Adams again.

I know you're going to be shocked to hear this about someone who writes on the internet for a living, but I'm a bit of the solitary type. 'A loner, a rebel,' in Pee-wee parlance. I was an only child, a gay only child, and never learned how to make friends all that well, so I spent a majority of my teenage years wandering. I grew up in a small town but one big enough to wander, and when I moved to New York City after college I carried the habit with me. And New York rewards the hell out of such instincts; there's nowhere more comfortable for solitary wandering than in the middle of a great big oblivious crowd...

Nobody's Watching, the new feature from writer-director Julia Solomonoff (who previously made The Last Summer of La Boyita), has a deep understanding of how the communal blanket of the big city can comfort and also, at times, suffocate. Nico (Guillermo Pfening) has come to New York from Argentina, where he's a huge soap star, in order to erase himself in a post-breakup moment. It's unclear how much interest he really has in acquiring international work - he goes through the motions but mostly he seems to just want to get lost. He skips from friend's couch to stranger's bed, making extra cash by babysitting, an urban nomad in a daze.

Solomonoff and her co-writer Christina Lazaridi turn this haze of displacement into an emotionally stunning sketch of an immigrant's experience. Nico is neither there nor here; his blond hair isn't right, his accent isn't right, he doesn't check off any of the right boxes, and nobody can figure out what he's doing or why. Nobody's Watching understands that slipping through the cracks can be its own kind of sort-it-out reward. It's temporary yes, but still a sweet salve to stanch the bleeding. And Pfening gives a fine performance in the lead. You can see both the big man he is somewhere else and the nobody he is here battling it out for dominance in his every meandering unsure move.

 

previous Tribeca reviews

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Reader Comments (2)

I went to a writing's conference Julia Solomonoff gave in my city (where's she also from) while she was promoting one of her books, and she showed us one of her shorts, "Scratch" (really good) which also deals with immigration. She's also really involved in one of my very favorite Argentinian movies, "Historias mínimas".

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMe34

I loved her last movie LAST SUMMER OF LABOYITA so i really want to see this. upset i slept in accidentally on the morning of this screening. sounds great.

May 3, 2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

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