LONESOME Review: Winsome in Wisconsin with a 20’s Twist

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Lisa Johnson Mandell’s Lonesome review says this film that’s a mashup of 20’s, 40’s and 60’s styles is an oddball of experimentation—but a lovable oddball.

Lonesome reviewAlthough it’s set in modern day Milwaukee, Lonesome has a 1920’s silent-era look and feel to it, complete with black-and-white photography, title cards, and golly-gee-whiz-overacting.

Our hero is Guy (Zach McLain), a sadly single gentleman who works as a graphic designer in Los Angeles and has a roommate, Jim (Eric Halverson). Jim is a graphic designer as well, but unlike Guy, he’s happily burrowed into a warm relationship with Mary (Carolyn Lyons).

When he’s not parked in front of his computer working, Guy is parked in front of his computer scrolling through dating profiles. Finally, Jim has had enough of this sad exercise and convinces Guy to go to the beach with him for some real exercise.

“You can’t meet anyone on a computer,” Jim argues, dragging Guy out the door.

As soon as they set foot on the beach, they meet two single ladies and start a friendly game of volleyball. Jim is taken, of course, so he leaves Guy to woo his new lady friend, Roxy (Amber DeRuyter).

The pair have a fun, goofy afternoon, complete with cotton candy and ’20s-style female fainting and swooning, but all good things must come to an end. Although Guy wants to see Roxy again, he’s failed to get her digits and is afraid their fleeting relationship has come to an end. He proceeds to pound the pavement in town and by the beach but to no avail… will he ever find Roxy again?

The story is simple and sparse, featuring very little dialogue and a lot of (somewhat irritating, overbearing) music, making it a Silent Era homage with a touch of those tried-and-true rom-com tropes.

Lonesome is an experimental mash-up using the 20s as its canvass for the occasional dip into 40’s musicals and 60’s New Wave. It’s a clunky but charming “meet cute” movie that, at just an hour long, is worth a look for those who are hopeful romantics at heart.

Lonesome is out on various streaming platforms on January 17, 2023.

It’s been a festival favorite winning multiple awards at the Seattle Film Festival 2022 including Winner Audience Award Best Feature Film, as well as at the Indigo Moon Film Festival 2021 (Winner Audience Award Best Feature Film), Beloit International Film Festival 2022 (Official Selection), Cinema On The Bayou Film Festival 2022 (Official Selection), Weyauwega International Film Festival 2021 (Winner Festival Spirit Award), and won six awards at the MLC Awards 2022.

Lisa Johnson Mandell’s Lonesome review says this film that’s a mashup of 20’s, 40’s and 60’s styles is an oddball of experimentation—but a lovable oddball.

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and seen on Rotten Tomatoes. She is the author of three bestselling books, and spends as much of her free time as possible with her husband Jim and her jolly therapy Labradoodle Frankie Feldman.

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