Review by Joseph Fayed
Dylan & Zoey is a dramedy that deals with an estranged friendship. Set over the course of one night, the two estranged friends try to figure out what drove them apart years prior. There have been many films before that have dealt with friends who are no longer friends reuniting for a brief period of time. While in those films, the two leads might express their love for each other right as the sun rises, this film has a different approach for rebuilding the bond between Dylan and Zoey.
Zoey (Claudia Doumit) is visiting Los Angeles and, on her final night, decides to see Dylan (Blake Scott Lewis) before she leaves. Over the next few hours they decide to spend together — or 82 minutes, in the viewers case — we see Dylan and Zoey laugh, discuss their memories from when they were closer, and reveal intimate details about the sexual abuse each of them have experienced in their lives. This is a "dramedy" after all folks.
With such a short run time and a story that takes place over such a short amount of time, there is not much room here to explore these characters backgrounds. When your film is essentially mumblecore with two characters the viewers are unfamiliar with, you need to expand on your main characters as much as possible. 82 minutes really does not get us any explanations as to why Dylan and Zoey are no longer friends until the last third of the film.
There is more than one way to address sexual abuse on screen as we have come to learn. The awkwardness between Dylan and Zoey shows us how there does not need to be some intense situation where one reveals their repressed trauma. We hear Dylan, who is revealed to be a 28 year old virgin, share his thoughts on sex while discussing his past traumas throughout the course of the day he spends with Zoey. Zoey, on the other hand, bounces off of Dylan's life before she makes an emotional revelation in the final act. Its ending is rather bleak but offers hope for both of our main characters, which given the context of why Dylan and Zoey grew apart makes sense.
Dylan & Zoey is a film that handles trauma better than it handles relationships. The pacing is a bit off when it comes to exploring any trauma, but when the pacing isn't off, the trauma it explores becomes the most interesting aspect of it all.
Dylan & Zoey is now available on VOD.