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The Independent Critic

Jenni Townsend, Rain Fuller, Nathan Barillaro, Glenn Luck
Sophie Townsend
Sophie Townsend, Nathan Barillaro
76 Mins.


 "Pretty Good Friends" a Pretty Good Film  
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Jules (Jenni Townsend) decides to press the restart button on her life by moving back home to Melbourne in time for her 25th birthday. Leaving behind a stale relationship and dead-end job, Jules moves in with her childhood friend Sam (Rain Fuller) and begins to discover the joys and challenges of re-inventing herself as she struggles to maintain an old friendship while also weaving her way through the complications of finding a new one.

Co-written and directed by Sophia Townsend, Pretty Good Friends is a fairly simple and straightforward indie drama that works largely on the strength of Townsend's disciplined direction, an authentic script from Townsend and Nathan Barillaro, and an ensemble cast that clearly understands the filmmaker's vision and brings this story to life.

Jenni Townsend is a pleasure to watch as Jules, a mixture of vulnerability and honesty and sincerity as Jules, a young woman who could be any number of young women reaching that point in life where figuring out oneself has to take precedence over other things. Rain Fuller is similarly strong as Sam, and Townsend and Fuller have a terrific chemistry that turns their friendship into something quite believable. Glenn Luck also really shines as Devon.

There's a naturalness to Pretty Good Friends that I really appreciated, an authenticity that allowed these characters to feel like genuine human beings rather than the pretentious hipsters we find so often in American indie cinema. Australian directors seem to have a willingness to live into their authenticity just a tad more, though there's also no question that Townsend is making some conscious choices here that are simply stellar.

Tom Swinburn's lensing for the film adds a warmth and intimacy that makes you feel like you're even more drawn into the scenes that are unfolding here. There were so many times I found myself watching the camera go back-and-forth between the players and thinking how much it felt like I'd stumbled into the room myself. It's beautiful work and adds to the film's emotional resonance.

Pretty Good Friends is the latest film from Amalume Productions and it's a definite indie gem that one hopes finds life on the indie fest circuit.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic