The Boy Downstairs: Film Review

I wanted to see The Boy Downstairs at the London Film Festival but sadly my schedule didn’t allow for it, so I had to make up for that ahead of its release, and I’m glad I did because it’s a lovely little film.

Zosia Mamet (Shoshanna from Girls) stars as Diana who returns to New York after a stint in London and moves into an apartment, only discover that her ex-boyfriend Ben (Matthew Shear) also lives in the same building.

This is very much a mumblecore type movie, so if you like Noah Baumbach or Joe Swanberg stuff, or things starring Greta Gerwig, for example, you will love it. I enjoy those types of movies so The Boy Downstairs was very much up my street. It is very dialogue-heavy, everyone talks a bunch and it is basically just scenes of people talking in rooms, and I just ate it all up because it was so lovely to watch.

The first half is definitely stronger than the second. I liked watching Diana move into her apartment, make friends with the live-in landlady Amy (Deirdre O’Connell), go to work, hang out with her pal Gabby (Diana Irvine) and worry over Ben. Doesn’t sound like much, but I was so engrossed in those scenes and invested in the character so I liked seeing what she was getting up to. These are interspersed with flashbacks to help us learn more about her relationship with Ben and why they broke up. It loses its way a little when things become romantic and sentimental and I was ready for it to end, though I would have preferred an ending that was less ambiguous and sudden. I hate those!

Mamet hasn’t really been in much since Girls which is a shame because she is perfectly suited to these types of movies. It isn’t much of a stretch from that show but at least she didn’t talk as fast as Shoshanna, because that character’s delivery used to irritate me. I had never seen Shear in anything before and he was OK, I wasn’t particularly blown away by his performance. I much preferred Irvine and O’Connell.

The Boy Downstairs is perfect if you want a short and simple romantic comedy that is just lovely to watch. It doesn’t require much thinking and makes for a pleasant afternoon’s watch, perhaps not a cinema trip.

In cinemas Friday 8th June 

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