Review by Bradley Smith
X/Y follows the complicated lives and relationships of a group of friends living in New York. Caught between Gen X and Gen Y, these friends are “flawed” or “broken” and struggling to develop and maintain relationships with friends and/or lovers. X/Y is a very relatable, very touching dramatic film that will tug at your heartstrings and maybe provide a little laughter or insight into a world where people try to figure out who they are.
The film is told in distinct vignettes mainly following one of four main characters at a time. By telling the story this way, the audience gets a chance to live in the character’s shoes for a brief time and experience everything that the character experiences, good or bad. This makes for a more interesting story as one of the characters, a screenwriter named Mark (played by Ryan Piers Williams, who also wrote and directed the film), points out early in the film when he is talking to a producer about a script he wrote. On a side note, I haven’t had experience with producers/studios, but I have no doubt in my mind that writers get notes all the time requesting they change their work to suit a mass audience; I am quite proud of Mark for what he says he did after that scene.
Ryan’s real-life wife, America Ferrera (Ugly Betty) stars as Mark’s girlfriend, Sylvia (Ferrera also co-produced the film) who has a pretty successful career and a less-than-seller purely-physical relationship with a coworker. At the start of the film, it is clear that Mark and Sylvia are not very happy and they soon decide to separate. But, their time apart does not do much for their happiness either as they are both conflicted about what they want and who they want to be/who they want to be with. They make up half of the characters that get their own segment.
The other two characters that get their own sections are Sylvia’s friend, Jen (played by Melonie Diaz) and Mark’s friend, Jake (played by Jon Paul Phillips). Sylvia is unemployed, but she “wants” to be a member of the working class and has never been in a serious relationship; while Jake is a painter still dealing with a previous break up. One of my favorite scenes was when Jen returns to the apartment of a man she slept with the night before; I won’t spoil it, but I will say I laughed at some of the awkwardness before feeling sad, empathetic for Jen.
All four main characters could easily become lonely recluses, but the desire for human connection proves it can overcome the troubles of the past, as well as other obstacles. There is, at least, a glimmer of hope that these characters and, by extension, the audience, will be happy if they just keep on trying, keep opening up, keep on living.