“Has anyone been following the French presidential election?” asks Nicole (Blair Bowers), who’s met with a blank stare from a table full of her friends.
That’s because Nicole lives in the world of news broadcasting. She’s obsessed with her job. She’s a workaholic who dedicates the wee hours of the night to a Washington, DC network affiliate, and she’s very good at what she does.
As you might imagine, Nicole doesn’t have much time for a social life. Even an on-again-off-again boyfriend (Nic Detorie) works at the station, where her boss (a hilarious Rick Kain) promises a daytime position somewhere down the line. But for now, her days are spent passed out on the couch and dozing off on park benches — that is, when she’s not glued to her smart phone.
It doesn’t even seem like she’ll make it to her uncle’s funeral until her bereaved mother (Joy Nathan) manages to talk some sense into her. Even then, Nicole just appears to be going through the motions, until she inherits her uncle’s dog and house and meets Joe (Andrew Agner-Nichols), the owner of a local country store in the charming rural town.
And so goes “Geographically Desirable”, a light, witty movie that speaks to the importance of balancing one’s life. DC-based writer/director Mike Kravinsky (“The Nextnik”) seems to have found his stride with this quirky and relatable comedy/drama, which is like a more upbeat, less pretentious Noah Baumbach film. Blair Bowers is nearly perfect in her portrayal of a woman who’s so busy covering world affairs that her own life is passing her by, and while the character might look like a Sarah Jessica Parker cliché on paper, Bowers avoids coming across that way almost altogether on-screen.
Laughs are not scarce, particularly when the movie is emphasizing how absent-minded Nicole is outside of her work life: in one scene, Nicole’s bestie Abby (Felicia Gonzalez Brown) discovers a dustpan in the refrigerator when cleaning up around their apartment. We’ve all been there at some point in our lives, but Nicole seems to be on perpetual auto-pilot, blindly coasting into a future of loneliness and regret.
Will she find happiness in the unlikeliest of places? Agner-Nichols is appealing as the down-to-Earth restaurateur Joe, who becomes attracted to Nicole as her initial city girl snobbishness starts to wash off in the overwhelming goodwill of the small town. While the relationship that develops between them doesn’t exactly produce fireworks, we get the sense that romance is merely a byproduct of the connection that Nicole is making with herself. And her self-discovery does have its touching moments.
The film’s good intentions are not without their pitfalls, but “Geographically Desirable” has plenty to offer in between the expected lulls. The cast is strong, but the standout is a rather disarming performance from Josh Adams as a reticent artist named Tyler. His dialogue with Nicole leads to a big revelation regarding her perspective on things — and it’s here where the film comes together as something much more thoughtful than your typical romantic comedy.
“Geographically Desirable” was so popular at DC’s Reel Independent Film Extravaganza that there will be an additional screening at 7:00 PM this Tuesday, October 21st at the West End Cinema. For folks in the NYC area, the film is also playing tonight at the NYC Independent Film Festival !