Platonic love between virtual strangers helps ease the pain of grief in this tender first feature from Natalie Morales, who also stars opposite co-writer Mark Duplass. You have to wonder about the shelf life of all the compact film productions being stitched together around COVID pandemic restraints, particularly those in which the visual field is limited to computer desktops. When we finally escape the confinement of video calls for most of the social interactions outside our immediate circles, is anyone really going to hunger for the dulcet chimes of a Skype connection or the flat images of a Zoom meeting? That question aside, actress-turned-director Natalie Morales shows both resourcefulness and sensitivity in her touching first feature, Language Lessons , starring as a Spanish teacher drawn closer to her student in the wake of devastating trauma. Appearing alongside her co-writer Mark Duplass, Morales pulls off the difficult trick of fostering intimacy out of a long-distance relationship framed by technology. The empathy invested in both their characters pulls you in and helps to minimize the gimmickry of a narrative constructed entirely out of personal-device screen time. The lengths to which the director and her nimble DP Jeremy Mackie go to vary the… Read full this story
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