Film Review: She's in Portland
Tommy Dewey and Minka Kelly in "She's in Portland" (courtesy photo)
By Lauren Bray
"She's in Portland" offers a unique love story with depth, immaculate views of the Pacific Coast Highway, and nostalgic college scenes from Isla Vista.
Wes has a successful career on the east coast and is married to his college sweetheart. They have a child and are trying for another but he's unhappy and seems to be drowning in his responsibilities. His college friend Luke lives in Los Angeles as a struggling film editor who's had a string of bad relationships and is ready to give up and move home for a more stable career.
After an encounter at a college reunion, Wes convinces Luke to join him on a road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway to Portland to reconnect with Luke's unrequited college love.
The first stop on their road trip starting in Los Angeles in a place we all know and love, Isla Vista. The film does an excellent job portraying our eclectic college enclave from beach cruisers to surfers and oceanfront Del Playa drinking games. It truly felt as if the characters just stumbled into a party on DP and I wasn't surprised to learn the majority of extras were local residents and students.
"We wanted to paint an accurate picture of what it’s really like to be in this town. So that anybody that went to school here could look back and remember with fondness. At the same time, we could also portray this unique college lifestyle for anybody that didn’t know anything about the place," said director Marc Carlini.
Nostalgia achieved, except for that moment when one of the actresses pronounced Pardall as "Par-dell." For the non-locals, it's "Par-doll."
The scenes and settings are simply stunning, making the PCH its own character in the film. With scenes in Carmel and Big Sur, it made me feel the longing to fall in love again with the California coastline.
Additionally, the film is stacked with some quality acting talent. Wes is played by Tommy Dewey, best known as the lead in Hulu's Golden Globe-nominated series "Casual." It's hard not to like Dewey, even in past roles playing a very unlikeable character, he manages to find a way to connect and express vulnerability. Francois Arnaud, from the "The Borgias" and "Blindspot," does an excellent job depicting a struggling artist trying to make sense of his place in the world.
It’s primed as a classic, does the guy end up with the girl story, but ends up being more about a story of two friends reconnecting with one another, themselves, and what's really important in their lives. Throughout the film, the duo meet a variety of women who seem to directly correspond to the men's emotional journey. A divorcee and her unmarried friend throw down some wise words on the realities, mystery, and magic of love slicing through Luke’s disillusionment while also giving Wes hope.
Overall, it's an enjoyable film that offers some unpredictable moments providing depth and reflection.
- Thursday, January 16 - 5:20 PM - Metro 2
- Monday, January 20 - 4:20 PM - Fiesta 4
For tickets visit sbiff.org