Falling Overnight is one of those films concerning twentysomethings that mistakes banality for truth, but essentially it’s a meet-cute romance with an opportunistic movie-of-the-week twist. Elliot (Parker Croft) is a prosperous web engineer taking some time off who spends his days idling around. Chloe (Emilia Zoryan) is a cute barista trying to figure out a way to make a living selling her photographs. One day, Elliot strolls into Chloe’s café and orders a smoothie, the two flirt, which leads to Chloe inviting Elliot to a show that night spotlighting some of her work. Elliot attends, and the two embark on a night of partying and tentative hand-grasping.
Visually, the film is inviting. Director/cinematographer Conrad Jackson creates a warm, vibrant series of hues that recall the work of Aaron Katz, whose films were clearly an influence on Falling Overnight in more ways than one. But Katz, particularly in his wonderful Cold Weather, conveyed a wealth of frustration and uncertainty with specific, deceptively casual dialogue. This film, however, is an infuriating nothing. Jackson and his actors are trying to establish a subtext of shy longing that’s brought to a near boil by the introduction of a character’s potentially fatal malady, but this stylization of inchoate feelings doesn’t add up.
Elliot and Chloe, both given jobs typical to the movies that excuse the filmmakers from having to introduce any actual day-to-day details of the characters’ lives, are defined almost entirely by the googly eyes they make at one another. Neither character would appear to have any interests, much family, or significant friends. Neither character voices a single thought about politics, college, movies, music, books, sex, or food. In fact, with the exception of one opportunistic scene near the end of the film, neither character experiences much of any emotion at all.
It’s even beyond Elliot and Chloe to exchange functional dialogue; based on the prolonged and stilted fashion in which he orders the smoothie, you’d think that Elliot were asking Chloe what kind of undies she had on underneath her jeans. You’re pathetically grateful for a moment halfway through the film when a friend makes a lewd joke. At least it’s something.
Falling Overnight recalls some of the more annoying entries in the mumblecore subgenre that erroneously believe that every indiscriminate moment in a person’s life is worthy of a film regardless of subtext. But Elliot and Chloe are ciphers, coasting on a chic bohemia of uncertainty, that lack the stature for a commercial, much less a movie.