Jenna and Cindy stand next to each other, backs against the wall of the bathroom.

Film Review: Farewelling

Film Reviews

Director: Rodes Phire

Unpaved Rodes
In Theaters: 06.22

While some of my favorite films have been ones I’ve gone into completely blind, I unfortunately can’t say the same about Rodes Phire’s Farewelling. Farewelling hit pretty much every trope that I have come to expect from an indie drama film—a love triangle, dramatic pop music needle drops and slow motion shots are just the tip of the iceberg.

Farewelling follows Jenna (Cristen Coppen) after the sudden death of her longtime best friend Cindy (Lauren Selman). To honor her friend, Jenna invites Cindy’s ex-boyfriend Daniel (Robert Thomas Preston) up to her and her husband’s (Rob Evors) home for the weekend to spread her ashes, and drama ensues. For about a 90-minute movie, there are a lot of plot points to keep up with, and not very many of them feel connected. An affair, multiple psychedelic trips and tension between the two male leads are all events that should work together but don’t particularly build off the premise and feel like they were added in without much forethought in order to raise the story’s stakes.

While Cindy’s death is the catalyst for all the events in the film, she is relegated to either a side character that Jenna hallucinates or an urn in the background of a scene. I found it hard to feel the weight of her death because half the time it felt like Farewelling favored pushing toward another plot point and left Cindy herself behind. This disconnect made me feel like I was watching three separate movies at once.

There weren’t any particularly bad or stellar performances. Unfortunately, the script was a big reason none of the actors really shine. Many of the lines of dialogue come off as incredibly cheesy, even though the film wants you to treat it like a serious, dramatic movie. The characters are all supposed to be in their early 30s, but the dialogue makes it seem like an older person was trying to write how they think teenagers talk. Any mention of the COVID-19 pandemic immediately took me out (“No, no, it was grown in a LAB, man.”). Daniel’s new girlfriend, Kimberly (Anna Briggs), seemed to have a lot of potential but again was held back by the writing. 

All of the relationships in the film felt severely underdeveloped. It was like watching a room of strangers interact with each other. The movie tells us Jenna and her husband have been together for years, but seeing them interact with each other it felt like they had started dating right before the events of the film.

Other than a couple of sillier camera angles and shots (for example, there’s an out-of-place shot up at a faucet that shakes when water drops hit it), there isn’t anything particularly egregious on the technical side. The prevalence of blues and yellows in the cinematography stood out, and a lot of the nature shots were pleasing. The color helps keep a dramatic feel to the film and makes up for some of the goofier dialogue.

Farewelling is pretty standard indie fare. If you’ve seen one or two indie-dramas, you’ve basically already seen this one. Elle Cowley 

Read more film reviews of indie dramas:
Film Review: Carmen

Film Review: Showing Up