Director: Nathan Adloff
Screenplay: Nathan Adloff, Justin D M Palmer
Starring: Natalie West, Tyler Ross, Conor McCahill, Gaby Hoffman
Producers: Nathan Adloff
Running time: 78 minutes
As you would guess from a film with two people’s names in the title, the film is about Nate and Margaret. Nate is a 19-year old film student and Margaret is his 52-year old friend who lives in the same apartment building.
Nate is in college and wants to be a filmmaker. Margaret works in a coffee shop but does stand-up part time with the hope that she can do comedy full-time.
The film is about the two of them as they discover themselves as they grow from where they previously were. In some ways it is a little cliched, but I didn’t mind this as it’s actually quite a sweet and touching movie.
It starts out with our eponymous characters doing a bit of thrift store shopping, getting strange items including an ornament that’s three meerkats standing on their hind legs. They then have a discussion about a mug that Margaret wants to buy, which doesn’t have any significance at the time but makes sense a little later on.
N&M is a film where not that much happens but there are two definite story arcs, director Nathan Adloff has certainly been to the type of film school that Nate attends in the film. In fact he must have paid a lot of attention because the film is beautifully shot and is very smoothly done. There are a couple of occasions where a frame is out of focus every so slightly, but it doesn’t really matter and doesn’t take anything away from the film as a whole.
There are so many things to like about N&M. The two main characters are great and and played in completely believable ways by Natalie West (Margaret) and Tyler Ross (Nate). They just seem like good friends and have that chemistry that good buddies do, it’s very natural. The less likeable characters of James (Conor McCahill) and Darla (Gaby Hoffman) are also excellent and utterly believable.
The story is good too. It doesn’t try too hard to be charming or endearing or to pull at your heart strings. It has a very natural feel to it, especially the way that Nate’s relationship with James (he’s gay by the way) causes problems between Nate and Margaret and the fact that he’s 19 and she’s 52 and never married or had children.
As I said Margaret does stand-up comedy and this is pretty dark stuff and it explains why she’s never married and why she has a thing for mugs. At first her lines really grate on you, but that’s the point as we see Margaret grow with confidence as she starts to discover her voice.
Nate & Margaret is a sweet film about the love and friendship of two unlikely people and is certainly worth a watch. In some ways it's a film by the numbers, it doesn’t try to do anything really different, some aspects are cliched, but on the whole it’s enjoyable.
Review by Henry Tucker
*The DVD will come with deleted scenes, a short film about the making of the film and audition tapes for the Nate and James characters and more extras. None of these were on the supplied review copy however.