Free Hugs captures the "rock bottom" moment of post-breakup wallowing, when friends lose their patience, and the pitiless world moves on without you. We follow the hilariously bitter Billie... See full summary »
This was somewhat of surprise, in the sense that directing is hard thing and so many people do it badly. For the most part you can change that 6/10 to a 7 given how critical I tend to slant my ratings.
Wilde proves here she can direct. And that she can write conversational dialogue. An exceedingly difficult disciple. Real dialogue from real people's lips, like in life. It's no secret that Wilde is a big fan of Joe Swanberg's work. He directed her in Drinking Buddies and hasn't stopped talking about this experience since. And rightly so, it's a superbly crafted film. Swanberg somehow manages to capture an energy in that movie like few films I've seen — an aliveness!
It's clear Swanberg has stumbled upon a manner of filmmaking that seems to create this great intangible, energy. Not all his films work, but when they do they work so damn well. And since he's stepped away from the role of cinematographer while directing that seems to have helped him greatly. The reason I mention Swanberg is this review is Wilde made it before she worked with him, but it looks like it was made after and influence by her experience on Drinking Buddies. I was sure until I checked. An impressive feat.
I don't know where Wilde got her writing/directing chops but she should nurture and explore them further.