The Bracket Theory
Short film review-Downtown Urban Arts Festival
Written and Directed by Katia Kuziara
Produced by Katia Kuziara, David Barrett and John Mabry
Reviewed by Jen Bush-5/18/18
The dating scene in New York City makes arranged marriages seem fun! Boy meets girl, boy gets girl, etc. etc. is out the window. Now it’s swipe left, swipe right, make a connection and hope there’s no duct tape and chloroform in the trunk!
In this film we meet Lucy, wonderfully portrayed by Meghann Fahy. Lucy has been struggling to find love in the big city. She ponders the trials and tribulations of dating very diligently and comes up with her own personal theory that she calls the bracket theory. This theory postulates that individuals can fit into 4 brackets having to do with intelligence, social aptitude, physical attraction and wealth. If either partner exceeds the parameters of their brackets, Lucy feels they are no longer compatible.
Lucy keenly observes interactions between couples and internalizes her findings. The thing that I especially liked about Lucy was that she didn’t blow off any potential suitors. A lot of men and women do an initial once over of a person, make a snap judgement and close themselves off to who could possibly turn out to be the love of their lives. Lucy’s character smiled sweetly and was open to all possibilities. Maybe that was naïve and even a bit dangerous, but it was nice in comparison to the brusquely dismissive nature of dating.
As likeable as she was, it was slightly difficult to believe that Lucy had trouble dating. She was the poster child for her own theory. She was stunningly beautiful whether she was dressed down, dressed up, wearing makeup or not wearing makeup. Her physical attraction bracket was on fire. Her intelligence was obvious in her dialogue and since she was always reading books. She scored high with social aptitude being so friendly and outgoing throughout the film. The only thing difficult to discern was her wealth. We saw she worked in an office in an unrevealed capacity. This woman was a catch and any N.Y.C. male would have been lucky to date her.
Luck goes on a few dates with Matt played by Nicko Libowitz. He’s a seemingly nice guy who takes Lucy for a romantic walk. In what was perhaps the most beautiful scene in the movie, Matt takes Lucy’s hand, spins her around and both characters are standing at a railing, staring at the N.Y.C. skyline behind the East River. It’s unbelievably romantic and spoiler alert, they kiss. You’re so woozy with glee from that scene that it’s hard to be prepared for the next jarring scene. Let’s just say Matt obliterated his bracket in a negative way and consent was dubious. Kudos to Nicko Libowitz for doing a 360 with his character. After that encounter, I might have hung it up for a while yet the ever optimistic Lucy, shaken but undeterred, forged ahead. By the end of the film, we know Lucy will be just fine and will eventually ride off into the sunset with her prince charming.
The cinematography of this film was stunning. Using N.Y.C. as a backdrop, you can never go wrong. The film captured the vibrancy and the heartbeat of the city with deft skill. The story is easy to relate to no matter what your background is. Everyone has dated. Everyone who has dated has an anecdote to tell and an theory of navigating the dating world. It looked as if the film had a very healthy budget with multiple locations, excellent lighting, props and costumes. The actors were well chosen and executed their parts believably. The film left me with a quote that deeply resonated with me. “You can’t love somebody in a bubble. You have to love how they interact with the world and how the world interacts with them.” It’s a beautiful sentiment that rings so true. Living by that could have saved us all some heartache in life. It’s a beautiful thing to witness acts of kindness in your partner and to see others crave positive interactions with them. Heed that advice because if all of your friends think your partner is a nitwit, that might be a red flag! This film was both a cautionary tale and a tale of hope that loves exists and can be found with cognizant patience.