Slamdance Film Review: Between Us

Posted January 20, 2013 in

Between Us
Slamdance Film Festival
Director: Dan Mirvish

Originally an Off-Broadway play, Mirvish’s film adaptation of Between Us remains an intense drama with lots of dialogue and not much else. But thanks to a surprisingly strong cast, which includes Julia Stiles and Taye Diggs, Mirvish transforms this film into a captivating tale of two couples dealing with their evolving lives and marriages, and how the tables can turn in just a few years. In the opening scene, Stiles’ character, Grace, answers her apartment door by saying, “It’s a little strange having you two show up at our doorstep like this.” Although you’re not sure at first what she means by the statement, the mystery slowly unravels over the following 90 minutes. The film bounces back-and-forth between the past and present, but it is done well and is easy to follow. When Mirvish takes the film back in time a few years, we see Sharyl (Melissa George) and Joel (David Harbour) as an unhappy couple and on the verge of divorce, while Grace and Carlo (Diggs) are newly wedded and appear happy with their lives. But as the film jumps back to the present day, the two couples have switched circumstances, as Grace and Carlo are now the ones dealing with some heavy shit, while Sharyl and Joel are on the up and up. Aside from the basic storyline, there are also some great subplots (religion, alcoholism, abortion, student debt—just to name a few) mixed throughout, which helps keep the film fresh and lively. Even though a large part of the film takes place with the couples sitting on couches talking, the great acting and storyline keep you engaged.