Review by Paul Burch
November 16th, 2017
INSIDE YOU is like a cross between a mumblecore film and a classic Hollywood story concept that showcases director Heather Fink and her sturdy hand on writing techniques. The film operates on its dialogue and focuses on what the characters are saying rather than what they’re going through but it also doesn’t fail to get a few quips in on the clichéd post-Freaky Friday comedies revolving around “body swap”.
What’s also special here is Fink’s capturing of New York City as a vibrant character in the film. This already puts it directly into the “realm” of mumblecore - just enough to make the satire work. It also breathes a lot of life into the story’s set pieces with a female perspective we’re not used to in most contemporary comedies. Even the tone of the film feels akin to a sitcom, almost subverting the likes of Girls or Broad City that’s recently crossed mumblecore into the sitcom structure.
This film doesn’t just capture the lifestyles of New York City millennials within the confounds of an apartment, it also focuses on their jobs and a variety of supporting characters that give the film it’s subversion of the episodic nature of these types of films. It’s not just used as a device for the comedic hijinks, however, but also a study of the kind of workplace existing in the present and does it without spoon-feeding the audience on its subtle cultural snapshot. You’d mostly have to go to television for this type of study - like a Search Party or the aforementioned Girls. The list goes on. The thing that sets INSIDE YOU apart is that its concept is genuine about sexual pathos on a level we’re not used to. For example, the main characters circle around a relationship trying to figure out its sexual distances and hang-ups - the leading female, for example, struggling with expectations or projection. These are serious concepts being explored in a cheeky tone and Fink finds ways of making it work.
The relationship between our two leads (played by Fink herself and Marshall Stratton) is beautifully portrayed here. It may seem hyperbolic but it’s very rare to see this kind of chemistry in Hollywood movies, let alone most independent films. It’s palpable here: by the way they communicate by body and through their words simultaneously. Even when the “body swap” happens, they seem to be so aware of one another - and repeat each other so well - that it’s hard to deny there’s a history to their characters where they really know one another on a deep level. They’re simply lovely and aide the film into Fink’s success.
Visual innuendos appear throughout INSIDE YOU (including its title) showing a mature playfulness to the subject matter. The tasteful and truthful comedic moments - turning the cliches of the genre into something sincere - really tap into something involving here. The fact it subverts them with the primitive tropes of that familiar premise and introspectively blends them with the down-to-earth traits of mumblecore, make it a refreshing and new variation of the storyline. In one line, the female-lead-now-in-body-of-man lead says: “Freaky Friday is happening” and proceeds to try and solve the problem based on the ways the characters in the classic Disney film did. It’s that kind of wit with her tropes that make INSIDE YOU such a charming comedy - and Fink’s direction (and writing; and performance) so thoughtful. Remember the name Heather Fink - she's a triple threat of indie filmmaking who is ready for bigger things.