REVIEW: Somebody’s Darling
– By Dave Dubrow
Sharad Kant Patel’s film SOMEBODY’S DARLING may indeed be somebody’s darling, but it wasn’t mine. It had significant weaknesses from plot to production to editing, and the occasional hints of something deep and dark under the surface of events failed to culminate in anything more than a shrug and a vague feeling of relief at the closing credits.
Production-wise, the audio was hosed. Everyone mumbled when they didn’t mutter, making it difficult to hear what was going on over the room tone and soundtrack. Numerous framing issues made a number of scenes awkward, and a staticky post-production filter over everything gave it a cheap, flashback-style look as though the entire film was the Before segment of a television commercial selling tooth-whitening products.
The vague intimations of a plot made themselves known about 45 minutes in, but by then it became difficult to maintain attention. Something about a high-class college fraternity led by Christian, a handsome young man existing somewhere on the mid-to-high-functioning end of the autism spectrum. Sarah, hostile to fraternities and romantic relationships in general, goes to Christian’s frat party; says some mean things to him that are supposed to make the audience stand up and shout, “You go, (person who identifies as a) girl;” and storms out. Then she meets him again on campus and they sort of strike up a friendship and there’s sort of a love triangle with them and some asshole in a baseball cap and then Christian gets sick.
Much of the story moves forward through dialogue, but all of it’s banal, flat, and delivered without the slightest bit of affect. Some of the actors attempt to convey a sense of conflict, but lacking an investment in either the characters or the story, we’re not given a reason to care what happens to anyone. Like so many independent films, the idea was there but the execution wasn’t.
I hate trashing movies, but damn it, I can’t believe everyone involved in production looked at this film before I got to it and said, “Yes! This is our best work. Break out the champagne!” Sometimes you have to admit that the baby is ugly. Somebody’s Darling is that ugly baby, and while its parents may love it, I didn’t.