It would be nearly impossible to complain about the indie comedy Cold War, a rather darling little film that was just released on digital on March 23rd with current availability on Amazon Video, ITunes, Google Play, and Fandango Now with more outlets to follow on April 6th.
Cold War is that rare fresh relationship comedy centering around Maggie (Madeline Walter) and Jon (Michael Blaiklock, a couple who finally move in together only to find themselves a mere one day later dealing with the worst flu in decades, the dreaded raccoon flu. Trapped at home, the two are forced to share every single living, sniffling, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, puking and absolutely freaking miserable moment together.
I guess we're going to find out if these two lovebirds are really in love.
The story that follows, written by J. Wilder Konschak and is noted as claiming its inspiration from Konschak's very real life and a very real girlfriend who became his very real wife.
Indeed, everything here feels very real.
It's also very funny.
As a paraplegic myself, I'll confess that certain aspects of Cold War felt right at home, though certainly in this writer's case the illness isn't ever going away and the girlfriend has never been as funny and talented as the absolutely delightful Madeline Walter, a longtime Upright Citizen's Brigade veteran whose performance here picked up the Best Actress in a Feature prize at the 2017 LA Comedy Fest.
As one might expect, the week-long illness reveals both the strengths and the weaknesses of the relationship between Maggie and Jon with a planned, but dreaded by Maggie, housewarming party serving as the key source of conflict that moves everything forward as the private and cautious Maggie becomes weary of Jon's more expressive openness as she begins to feel suffocated by a Jon who simultaneously starts to feel shut-out and rejected.
The film's humor is more grounded within its familiarity and comfort rather than in a constant barrage of laugh out loud moments, though I will confess that one scene, in particular, involving Maggie, who is a nurse, definitely made me laugh out loud.
Cold War was filmed in and around the Chicagoland area and features an ensemble cast adept at improv, with Walter's co-star, Michael Blaiklock, a series regular on Secret Girlfriend and Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, having a relaxed, believable chemistry with Walter.
D.P. Jason Chiu's lensing is bright and intimate and occasionally invasive, while the co-directing team of Konschak and Stirling McLaughlin only occasionally fall victim to trying to force a laugh or two that just doesn't quite connect. For the most part, this is a funny, sweet and uncomfortably intimate film about two funny and sweet people working through those uncomfortably intimate moments in a relationship.
For more information on Cold War, visit the film's website linked to in the credits.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic