Zach McLain, Amber DeRuyter, Eric Halverson, Carolyn Lyons
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
Tony K. Hall
Lonesome is a sweet and simple love story, a throwback to Hollywood past with elements of the French New Wave and also a quiet voice all its own. Written and directed by Tony K. Hall, this black-and-white romance has a retro vibe with contemporary sensibilities and a storyline that appreciates the role of technology in the modern world of romance. Guy (Zach McLain) is a lonely city dweller struggling to find the partner of his dreams. Convinced by his roommate Jim (Eric Halvorson) to spend a day at the beach, Guy encounters the free-spirited Roxie (Amber DeRuyter). The two spend an absolutely delightful day with one another, however, amidst their mutual excitement fail to exchange contact information.
Searching both online and around the city, Guy fails to find the woman he believes very well could have been the one. Roxie, on the other hand, chalks it all up as simply one wonderful day when she fails to hear back from Guy.
The weaving together of a vintage aura alongside modern day cultural touchpoints is strangely effective largely owing to a strong ensemble cast and the excellent production work from D.P. Jake Wollner and Tony Doybek's memorable 40's infused original music. I hesitate to call Lonesome quirky because that implies an impact the film really doesn't have, but this multi-layered cinematic tapestry makes for an engaging viewing experience that is strange but rather wonderful.
While I referred to Lonesome as a simple love story, the truth is Hall's ability to infuse different cinematic styles is rather impressive and to do so rather successfully is admirable for a micro-budgeted project.
Lonesome picked up a solid dozen awards along its 18-month festival journey with highlights including the Audience Award in the U.S. Competition at Seattle Film Fest and a prize for the lovely Amber DeRuyter as Best Actress at the same festival. Both McLain and DeRuyter are terrific here with DeRuyter, in particular, really outstanding in leaning into the film's varying styles and genres. Halvorson, Carolyn Lyons, and Alexa Peseri also truly shine.
Lonesome runs at a gentle and breezy pace over its slight but rather perfect 65-minute running time. The film never feels rushed or forced and by film's end we've had an absolutely lovely time along the way. Gently experimental and more devoted to atmosphere and nonverbal storytelling than actual dialogue, Lonesome is a little weird and a whole lot of wonderful wrapped by the kind of cinematic romance we just don't see that much anymore.
Picked up by indie distributor Random Media, Lonesome is available for streaming through all your usual streaming platforms.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic