Easier with Practice
Impressive lead performance from Brian Geraghty in film exploring loneliness and alienation
‘A one-sided love story’ is how writer-director Kyle Patrick Alvarez has described his downbeat US indie, which won the Best New International Feature Award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival back in 2009. Adapted from an autobiographical GQ magazine article written by Davy Rothbart, Easier with Practice follows a struggling 28-year-old writer Davy (Brian Geraghty from The Hurt Locker), who is trying to promote his unpublished collection of short stories on a tour of the American South-West. One night at his cheap motel, the phone rings and a seductively voiced stranger ‘Nicole’ is suggesting phone sex, swiftly arousing Davy. They’re soon engaged in an intense long-distance relationship, only Nicole never lets him call her, and she’s reluctant to meet up in person.
Like the recently released Mexican drama Leap Year, this debut feature successfully establishes the loneliness and alienation experienced by its central character, which leaves that individual craving for an intimate emotional connection, however unorthodox the form it takes. Other filmmakers might have played this material for gross-out laughs, yet Alvarez treats his insecure protagonist with some compassion, not least in the film’s unexpected resolution. Digitally shot in long, composed takes, Easier with Practice is above all held together by Geraghty’s impressive lead performance. Appearing in practically every frame, he convincingly articulates Davy’s vulnerability and social awkwardness and his ultimate decency.
Filmhouse, Edinburgh, Fri 14–Thu 20 Jan.