Austin Film Festival 2020 Review: THE GET TOGETHER

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

A sort of spiritual relative to Can’t Hardly Wait, The Get Together focuses on a group of twenty-somethings at a house party facing scary and uncertain futures as they attempt to fully embrace their lives as true adults. Shot in and around the Austin, Texas area, the movie does tread upon familiar thematic territory. To its benefit, though, the film displays the great sense of humor of its filmmakers and features an ensemble cast that shines brightly. As I write this review, I seriously consider the possibility that I may be a tad too generous with my rating, but the fact that I had such a great time watching it, makes me quash any of these second guesses.

As I stated above, the main setting of the movie is a house party attended by various characters, each with their own individual struggles in life. August (Courtney Parchman) hadn’t originally planned to attend the party, but because she is a ride share driver, her last passenger’s innocent mistake thrusts her in the middle of the craziness. Just after she dropped him off at the party, she realizes he has left his phone behind. As she searches through the wildness of the festivities, she discovers her roommate Gina (Elizabeth Trieu) had ditched her and their original plans, in order to attend this get together.

Meanwhile, her fare, Caleb (Alejandro Rose-Garcia), discovers that his ex-girlfriend Betsy (Johanna Brady) has decided to attend. Still harboring feelings for her, Caleb hopes to talk to Betsy in private, so he can win her love again. As for Betsy’s current boyfriend Damien (Jacob Artist), this party has become an unexpected stop, as he has bigger plans for his date with his love. The night becomes a hilarious comedy of error for each of the stories protagonists as they hope to steer things in the right directions for themselves.

Written and directed by Will Bakke and co-written by Michael B. Allen, The Get Together has a wonderful mix of hilarious comedy and character development that help elevate this movie above others that follow this familiar formula. Though the story does wrap up a little too neatly, it is certainly hard to dismiss the solid foundation laid by the writing and the great follow through, made possible by the direction and acting.

The cast definitely sold me on this latest growth journey in a party setting. Courtney Parchman is a joy to watch and is quite relatable as a character struggling to adjust to change, but does so in both some hilarious and appropriately awkward ways. As Caleb, Alejandro Rose-Garcia (the musical artist better known as Shakey Graves) brings a natural charisma and drive to a character struggling to reconcile with problems of the past. As Damien, the unwitting victim of a night gone absolutely wrong, Jacob Artist gives an appropriately flustered performance that exudes determination and strength despite the challenges that he faces.

And I would have to say that challenges is the main theme of this highly enjoyable comedy. Each of the main characters faces their own challenge on a night that serves as their own personal turning point in their respective lives. Even though this idea isn’t original, the filmmakers of The Get Together put their own creative spins on this story idea. Perhaps this is absolutely perfect, as this world sometimes presents similar challenges to its inhabitants. It is up to us to individually put our own spin on our futures in ways that serve the world in the best possible ways. It is a hopeful and optimistic idea, but nevertheless realistic.

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