Review by Ale Turdó
Writer, producer, director and actress Michele Remsen goes all out in Toss It (2019), her first feature film, a layered story disguised as an anti-romantic comedy.
Emily (Michele Remsen) and Finn (Phil Burke) are long time friends, he is a ladies man, she is the pseudo-intellectual type that won’t settle for an ordinary guy. After they get reunited at Finn’s brother wedding, the flimsy possibility of trying to work out some sort of romantic relationship and get together once and for all becomes a reality. From that point onward, the story story will set into will they/won’t they mode, and a vast assortment of colourful characters will speak their mind about it as the audience navigates through the plot along.
Initially, Toss It takes a dark approach at middle-aged single people in our modern times, and the way they need to deal with the feeling that other people’s plans -the more conventional ones- don’t necessarily fit their aspirations and desires. Is there something wrong with them? How bad is it to be trapped at the me phase after your late-thirties/early forties? Is there a real need for love in their lives?
But what starts as a run-of-the-mill rom-com evolves into something a bit deeper. Long conversational scenes about marriage, family traumas, getting older, working out a relationship and standard middle-age crisis turn the tables during the second act, as two people resisting to fall in love with each other hold hands and venture into the unknown… unknown to them of course.
All the actions that seem to happen in the background are no minor details as Emily and Finn iron out some relationship wrinkles. A wedding, a funeral, a trip to Las Vegas, all this set pieces are transitional stages that make Emily and Finn’s bond advance across the narrative. It seems to give the idea that love can be found in the most cliched, mundane and unexpected moments of everyone’s life. And the reason why we find it in all those different places it is because we can always learn something from it, no matter the circumstances.
The diverse cast evolves into a curious ensemble: the wise mother, the submissive younger brother, the controlling wife, the buddhist wannabe friend. Each of them shine a light into the different paths love can take, and which of those paths could be the right one for us. But one thing is for sure: there is no right answer.
The core idea behind Toss It is that you should give yourself a chance, a chance to be happy with someone else, in your own way, whatever or however works. In Finn’s words no one gets it right, but you just hope to get it better. Is there a lesson in love, relationships, getting older? This is the kind of movie that won’t give you a straight answer. Instead, it unveils different points of view on the subject matter. Perhaps the only certainty here is that no relationship is perfect, we all need a tribe a to belong to and it can get quite lonely to navigate this world alone.
Ale Turdó —Based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Alejandro is a film critic and movie enthusiast that has been writing about movies for the past 7 years, covering everything from blockbusters to indie gems and all in between. He majored in Sound Design and Cinematography in college and is a full time digital content producer. He’s the kind of guy that thinks that even the worst movie can have something interesting to write about. Additionally, he writes for Escribiendo Cine and A Sala Llena. Twitter: @aleturdo and IG: @hoysalecine