Cinematic Releases: Mr. Roosevelt (2017) - Reviewed

If there is one thing I learned over my years, it is that finding your way through life is a hard thing, especially after your teens. You most likely don’t have your shit together. You often don’t know what the hell you are doing or how you can survive. You see how well your friends are doing and it eats you up inside. It leaves you wondering where did it all go wrong. This is common indie territory but there is now a new wave of coming of age films involving people in their thirties coming to grips with their circumstances in life. While many independent films over the recent years have explored these themes, not many have been as funny and poignant as Mr. Roosevelt

Mr. Roosevelt is the story of a 30 something struggling LA-based comedian Emily Martin (Noel Wells) who return home to Austin when a family member becomes ill and finds herself in the awkward position of staying with her ex –boyfriend Eric (Nick Thune) and his amazing new girlfriend Celeste (Britt Lower) at her old house. The return home prompts Emily to go on adventure of self-discovery. She begins to reconnect with old friends and dealing with the loose ends of the place she left behind years ago. 

Also written and directed by Wells, Mr. Roosevelt is not only a confident directorial debut but also a comedic calling card for a strong female comedic talent waiting to be discovered. Watching this film is the comedy equivalent of discovering a new voice that is just waiting to be seen. After some charming yet under-serving parts on Saturday Night Live and Master of None, Noel Wells manages to give her self a seat at the bigger comedy table, not unlike the experience I had while watching The Big Sick

The film’s greatest quality is it’s humor and it’s characters. The film from its opening scene had my sides hurting from laughing. It shows off Noel Wells impression abilities and serves as a taste of what is about to come. The characters in the film feel real and aren’t just carbon copy pastes of stereotypes or bland and uninteresting people. I found Wells a compelling screen presence and that her writing and directing was on point. It does have that first time directorial feel to but Wells frames the film in a way that is naturalistic and benefits the movie. The world feels real and the characters in it belong. This film isn’t a dramatic reframing of independent cinema but it is a nice and enjoyable experience. I hope that we get to see more from her in the future. 

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-Liam S. O’Connor