Jackie & Ryan – 3/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

jackieandryanJackie & Ryan – 3/5 – This is a recent film I caught on Netflix. This is one that can be considered your basic indie film.  Indie’s are the kind of stories that are relevant because they grounded in simplistic progression.  With all that encompasses current cinema, whenever an indie flick passes by it’s a breath of fresh air.  I enjoy Indie films.  Storytelling is an art; even in the most basic notion of a ‘romantic tale’; you can still find something worth your time.  Even with its general structure, some ‘ok’ acting and short running time; this is a film that still provides worth on an intimate level.  Jackie & Ryan is a film that does enough to be a good indie flick.

Premise: Two individuals cross paths within a small Town in Utah.  A wander, Ryan comes in contact with a single Mom battling something personal.  Through circumstance, there is a chance that their lives might be changed forever.

In the leads you have:

Katherine Heigl as Jackie

Ben Barnes as Ryan

These individuals do a good job in providing worth and bravado to these plain characters.  There isn’t a lot to be had as they are the basic tropes of ‘opposite’ characters that cross paths.  As Ryan, Barnes plays a wandering musician.  He goes from town to town, playing on the street and small gigs for money.  He has aspirations to be a successful singer someday.  Barnes gives a good performance, creating that ‘free spirited’ personality found in most musicians.  You see his care free attitude towards others while keeping reserve in his ‘wandering’ ways.  It isn’t the deepest character in the film, but Barnes keeps you engaged within this tale.  Heigl plays a single mother who has come home to Utah; trying to fight for custody for her daughter.  Her level of emotions gives her a little more depth than Barnes’s Ryan; creating someone that is trending a line between sanity and depression.  This helps create a dynamic that is realistic and pure on screen.  When the two of them finally meet, the chemistry is drawn out with a slow burn.  The casual conversation builds the budding relationship, one that is predictable but welcomed.  There isn’t the ‘high stakes’ sparks found in melodrama, just something that is strong in its scenic passing.  You believe that they have come together through realistic methods, not one that is manufactured for a romantic tale.  Outside of these two, the rest of the cast is typical.  Indie flicks implore the common characters in real life.  This film doesn’t do much but create ‘place holders’ for the ongoing story; not adding any real notion of what their purpose is.  They are just there to keep the film from being smaller than what it is.

The direction is common to most indie films.  There is a sense within these kinds of films to keep everything on the story or the main character’s journey.  This film fuses both (to an extent); but does it in a way that stays steadfast in telling something honest but expected.  The tale of ‘fate’ and ‘circumstance’ is one that is used as a tool in a lot of films or general storytelling.  In the beginning, we watch as Fate plays along the introduction of both through there ‘own’ bond with music, then pull in with circumstance to bring these two together in this small town in Utah.  Through the typical ‘fate’ plot point; they build upon a commonality of something genuine to most.  There is a bond that bubbles and brings them closer.  The tale might be something you’ve seen before, but it is still enjoyable.  What makes this film all the more entertaining is its straight forward storytelling.  Even with the basic three acts, you still get a sense of the characters.  You have two people that see something great in each other.  Jackie finds a great sense of honesty in Ryan’s demeanor; a focus on being a good hearty individual.  Ryan finds strength in Jackie’s fragile situation; with her steadfast approach to doing what is right for her and her daughter.  The dialogue isn’t as strong as most indie films, but it still keeps the ‘relationship’ thick and building.  Another thing that keeps this film from becoming dull is the pacing.  The film moves very quickly, just giving enough ‘snippets’ of back story and exposition to keep you going forward and not worrying about the ‘what ifs’ in different situations.  The tone is very modest, but isn’t one that provides any atmosphere for the film.  Once we move into the final act; we are met with the typical ‘epiphany’ kind of resolution.  It is one that is brought through the linking of music and honesty.  Emotional overtures are brought the forefront in a musical epilogue, but it’s one that brings the film to feeling realistic as something we’d face in some way.  As the film concludes, you are get that typical ‘feel good’ ending; even if it was bound to happen from the start.

The visuals of the film are just as simple as the story.  The cinematography is one that is left to watching the characters interact in this small town of Utah.  You get a sense of gentle capture, not letting the visuals interfere with the characters.  There is the touch that is serene, quiet and sensual in its subtlety.  We look with a ‘watchful’ eye as the story moves along.  The score is very much an ‘up and down’ source of feeling.  There isn’t much outside of the folk style soundtrack that plays at times in the film, but those moments help provide strength to the film.

Jackie & Ryan is a good Indie film.  It doesn’t do much but tell a very predictable story.  Even so, it stays good and enjoyable throughout.  I’d say if you’re a fan of romantic tales or indie films; this is one for you.  Even if not, this is a good film to watch at home with the family.

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