Review: INSIDE THE RAIN, Comic Romance Flies on a Wry Course of Self-Discovery
Filmmakers who star in movies that they also write and direct open themselves up to all kinds of hurt. Aaron Fisher did one better; he also edited Inside the Rain, his feature directorial debut, a comic romance that flies on a wry course of self-discovery.
Benjamin Glass (Fisher) is a self-absorbed young man who has decided he wants to make a film about his first few days at college. Ostensibly, this is because he has been expelled and he wants to protest his unfair treatment. Realistically, this is because he is infatuated with a mysterious young woman, Emma Taylor (Ellen Toland), who appears to be light-years beyond him, in terms of intelligence, appearance, and self-assurance.
His parents (Catherine Curtin and Paul Schulze) are loving, kind, and supportive of Benjamin. He is bipolar and also has ADHD and OCD; in general, he is likely to try one's patience, more than anything else. Outwardly, he's not a bad fellow -- he doesn't appear to intentionally hurt anyone and isn't physically abusive -- though he definitely displays traits I would identify with a very strong, possibly overbearing personality.
What, then, makes him more than tolerable? In the film, he still has a core group of three longtime friends who stick by through thick and thin. It appears that these insiders can see through his outer shell, which can often be off-putting, and are drawn instead to his inner qualities which, frankly, are not so easy for outsiders to detect.
They are kept to the background, though, in favor of Benjamin's interactions with a kind therapist (Rosie Perez) and a kind indie-film producer (Eric Roberts). All these friendships suggest they are drawn to Benjamin's particular sense of humor, a relentless comic barrage that rarely lets up or lets others in. Humor can be a very personal thing, and, alas, I never felt like I was on the same wavelength as the film's bemused characters, who seem to find Benjamin and his travails to be exceptionally endearing and hilarious.
Even so, what is inarguably admirable about Benjamin is his never-say-die attitude. Ignoring kind entreaties from his family and friends, he presses forward with his half-baked idea to make a film in his own defense. From there, fellow feeling fairly well demands that we root for Benjamin; he may be deluded and delusional, but some of that is obviously out of his personal control, and at least he's doing something, which is better than nothing. (Isn't it?)
It's equally clear that Benjamin and Emma are not well-suited for each other, but in romance, as in life, if someone is bound and determined to make a mistake, it's best to step out of the direct line of fire and make ready with repair supplies. No sense in everybody going down.
The cast bolsters the story, pushing it beyond the confines of a typical student film. The characters are charming, personable and relatable. Fairly pleasant without being too fussy about it, Inside the Rain demonstrates Aaron Fisher's potential to make a film that will resonate longer and wider in the future.
The film will open at Village East Cinema in New York on Friday, March 13, at Laemmle Monica Film Center in Santa Monica, California on Friday, March 20, and at Angelika Film Center in Dallas and other theaters across the nation on Friday, March 27. Visit the official film site to get tickets and for more information.