Mutual Admiration (2006)

Andrew Bujalski is the godfather of mumblecore, a subgenre of independent film “characterized by naturalistic acting and dialogue (sometimes improvised), low-budget film production, an emphasis on dialogue over plot, and a focus on the personal relationships of people in their 20s and 30s.” His film Funny Ha Ha is considered the first film in this form. His second, Mutual Admiration, has just been re-released on blu ray from Arbelos Films, who did such an amazing job with their blu ray of The Last Movie earlier this year.

Alan (Justin Rice of the indie rock band Bishop Allen, whose music is also in this movie) is a musician who has just moved to New York City from Boston after the breakup of his band. He’s on the hunt for a drummer when he meets Sara, whose brother ends up being his drummer. Complicating matters is that they make out and he’s not sure where his heart is. That’s because he’s really attracted to Ellie, the girlfriend of his friend Lawrence (Bujalski).

Your enjoyment of this film will depend on how mumblecore makes you feel. Either you’re going to find it incredibly honest and real. Or you’re going to find it arty and pretentious, filled with people who have lives that have no direction that just blab about them for the entirety of the film’s running time. I leave it up to you, dear reader, as to which side of that argument I fall upon.

The new 2k restoration from Arbelos Films is now available on blu ray. It also features a new interview with Bujalski, interjections and observations from the parents of the cast and crew, a short film called Peoples House, trailers and more. There’s also two essays on the film by director Damien Chazelle and Okkervil River singer Will Sheff that both shine plenty of light on why this film is so essential. They aren’t throwaways — they actually enhanced my viewing of Mutual Appreciation. You can visit the official site to learn more about this movie.

Arbelos Films has really put out some interesting films this year and I’m excited to see what they choose to release next. They’re finding smaller films that are too arty for labels like Arrow and too niche for Criterion. Here’s hoping they stick around for a long time.

DISCLAIMER: We were sent this film by its PR company and that has no impact on our review.

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