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The Independent Critic

Sam Encarnacion, Isabel Ellison, Franco Gonzalez, David J. Cork, Max Carpenter, Nico Tran
Isabel Ellison, Ryan Guiterman
Isabel Ellison, Brian Otano
99 Mins.

 Movie Review: Loud & Longing 
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It's perhaps unsurprising that Isabel Ellison is both co-director and co-writer for the low-budget indie feature Loud & Longing because when it comes down to it it's Ellison who is the powerhouse that allows the emotionally intense and engaging film to maintain its at times chaotic yet always compelling narrative. The film centers around two childhood friends, Lucy (Ellison) and Lucien (Sam Encarnación), who are now artists in their thirties and on the verge of professional success in New York. It's been a hard battle for both of them, a result of mutually traumatic backgrounds involving grief, abuse, and addiction and a certain common fellow named Matt (Max Carpenter). When Matt resurfaces at the most inopportune time for both Lucy and Lucien, the two are forced to deal with their traumatic backgrounds with the support of their at times equally troubled friends. 

Loud & Longing is a love letter to New York City shot across a dizzying 16 days with a frenzy that somewhat benefits the film's ultra-low budget. At times, Loud & Longing feels experimental in the way its shot, sometimes successfully so other times not so much, and the film benefits from the casting of an ensemble comprised of some of New York's top queer and trans talent. The film captures the desperation of actors both running away from and running to something and the fierce necessity of a communal bond not just for the success of the arts but also for actual survival. 

As an actor about to make her Off-Broadway debut, Ellison soars with an emotional intensity that practically demands we keep watching throughout the film's 99-minute running time. Ellison captivates even if the script doesn't always quite hold up. Ellison practically wills the narrrative to work. 

As Lucien, Sam Encarnación offers a charismatic and vulnerable performance as an artist vying for a solo show at a prestigious art gallery. 

Among the supporting players, David J. Cork particularly shines as Carey and Max Carpenter never lets us look away. 

Loud & Longing's experimental nature benefits the hit-and-miss production quality, though I was quite taken by Simon Taufique's immersive and emotionally resonant original music for the film. 

With convincing themes of resilience and the vitality of community among others, Loud & Longing is an aching and occasionally brutal film about dealing with one's past and creating one's future alongside a family of choice. Currently on its indie fest run, Loud & Longing will most resonate with fans of LGBTQ cinema and those who resonate with its story about the legacy of trauma and the overcoming of it. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic