Complicated Romance: 10 DIFF Flicks Tackle that Crazy Little Thing Called Love
by Maria Vela
While love is a universal language, it doesn’t always mean that it’s comprehensive. Every love story is unique. Sure, we all love the “Happily Ever After” ending to films, however life often doesn’t play out the way we plan, and more often than not, consequences arise.
These DIFF films tell unconventional and complex stories of romance: of dreamers who sacrifice the love of one to go after another; of pouring ones’ heart out for a relationship only to not be reciprocated; of the years later reunion of exes; of first loves and marital complexities—and all of them portray the difficult reality that relationships can endure.
MUSTANG ISLAND tells the story of Bill, a man who suffers from a break-up on New Year’s Eve. Feeling hopeless, he asks his brother and friend to join him on a trip to find his ex-girlfriend, Molly, in hopes of patching things up. He then meets Lee, a waitress in the beach town, resulting in an odd but sincere romance. But once Molly arrives, he’s faced with a complicated situation. MUSTANG ISLAND is a genuine film about the complexities and hilarities of love and life.
MR. ROOSEVELT revolves around the story of Emily Martin, a quirky comedian who, after being in L.A. for two years, comes home after receiving some devastating news about her cat, Mr. Roosevelt. Making the trip to Austin, she soon realizes that her past life wasn’t exactly as she left it. Her ex-boyfriend has a new girlfriend, Celeste, who is the epitome of perfection. Broke and feeling hopeless, Emily befriends a local who shows her a good time as she struggles to find herself amidst guilt and realizing her dream.
THE BIG SPOON is a story of self-revelation revolving around the film’s protagonist Mallory, who is anxious to be welcoming her long-time play write boyfriend, Ben, back home. Her excitement is quickly interrupted when one of her closest friends comes home unannounced with her new boyfriend, Lionel, and plans to stay with Mallory. Seeing the constraints of the small home occupying both couples, all four must decide which relationships are worth saving.
CORTEZ follows the journey of Jesse, a struggling musician who goes on a road trip to find inspiration and runs into his ex-girlfriend, Anne, from many years ago. Soon after, during an awkward family dinner, he finds out that he has a son, Ben. Having to confront the situation at hand, Jesse takes Ben on a hiking trail in attempt to spend some quality time with his son before going back on tour. CORTEZ is a modern family drama of dreamers realizing that reality is consequential and that hope falls within its boundaries.
Best friends Thor and Christian have difficult lives, each with their own problems to overcome. His sisters unsympathetically mock Thor, while his mother is emotionally unavailable to her children. Christian, on the other hand has his drunken and abusive father who is all too present. When the two friends form romantic relationships with their significant others, it threatens to jeopardize the most profound relationship they’ve ever had. Emotional and memorable, HEARTSTONE challenges the meaning of friendship.
In a world where everyone that surrounds them is in love, settling down and having babies, self-proclaimed loners, Becky and Liam choose to embark on a “Friendship Friendtrip.” Unbeknownst to them, their relationship takes a turn as they begin to develop an odd romance based on their commonalities and their dislike of the perfect world around them. Full of oddities and wit, THE RELATIONTRIP relishes in the reality of what intricate relationships are when past life events affect the present.
Set during the final days of the Ottoman Empire, THE PROMISE follows a love triangle between Mikael, a brilliant medical student, the beautiful and sophisticated Ana, and Chris, a renowned American journalist based in Paris.
DINA captures the candid conversations of relationships as the outspoken and eccentric 49-year-old Dina invites her fiancé, Scott, to move in with her. This poses a challenge for both, as Scott freezes when it comes to physical intimacy, and Dina wants nothing more than to share all she’s learned from her previous marriage, pop culture books and television shows. Progressively insisting on her new ways, Scott exposes his anxieties and insecurities as they strive to reconcile their conflicting approaches to romance and intimacy.
Gender roles and expectations get reversed and transgressed in this unconventional love story when Vivi sets out to sweep her old socialite boss off his feet. Romance and hilarity are forthcoming as they both learn the rules of the game. The laugh-out-loud dialogue and extraordinary supporting cast make SIZE DOES MATTER a movie that audiences will appreciate as the film transcends the rom-com boundaries.
Let’s be honest, everyone’s had an idea that they’ve regretted. Filmed in our very own backyard in Fort Worth, A BAD IDEA GONE WRONG tells the story of two novice robbers, Marlon and Leo. While nursing a broken heart after breaking up with his long-time fiancée, Lee proposes the perfect spot for the pairs debut heist, a lavishly appointed house in a gated community. In a glorious comedic twist, they soon find they’re not alone in the act. Darcy, who was housesitting the invaded home, catches them in the act causing the three to banter their way out of the problem.
DALLAS STAR AWARDBILL PAXTON (POSTHUMOUSLY)
Bill Paxton was an award-winning actor and filmmaker from Texas. In 1992, he landed his first leading role in ONE FALSE MOVE. Paxton went on to star in several hit films including ALIENS (1985), APOLLO 13 (1995), TWISTER (1996) and TITANIC (1997)
L.M. KIT CARSON
DAVID GORDON GREEN
This year’s L.M. Kit Carson Maverick Award Honoree is writer/director David Gordon Green. David Gordon Green’s debut feature, GEORGE WASHINGTON (2000) won the Discovery Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, and his second feature, ALL THE REAL GIRLS (2003) received a Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
SHINING STAR AWARDZOEY DEUTCH
This year’s Shining Star Award Honoree is Zoey Deutch. Zoey Deutch is an actress known for VAMPIRE ACADEMY (2014), EVERYBODY WANTS SOME! (2016) and WHY HIM? (2016). Most recently, Zoey Deutch starred in two films selected at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, REBEL IN THE RYE and BEFORE I FALL.