This film caught me when I needed a slap in the face to stop my whining about how original film is dead. "Gabi on the Roof in July" is alive on so many levels: story, difficult yet necessary relationships, life imitating art or vice versa, and keeping it all together of course--the artifice of "true" art. My left cheek is still a bit red.
Hard to talk about because of how repugnant almost all the characters are, perfectly channeling 79% of white hipster NYC, giving them a well-deserved lambasting, but with little joy in it for us. Which puts it in Cassavetes territory. In Mike Leigh’s films you can feel the characters’ backstories in your bones. Not here, or in JC. I was looking for people I know to turn up in the credits, that’s how spot on it was.
Gabi on the Roof in July is a depiction of a life no one should aspire to have. It illuminates the cause and effect in ones life when they lack a job, morals, and respect for themselves. This movie becomes almost disturbing to watch at many points and the audience can not feel bad for any of the characters because they brought every situation on themselves. There is also no conclusion or lesson taught.
The movie was set in New York City. There were no black or brown people of in it. This is not a criticism. The movie paints an accurate picture of the lives of a certain kind of people. Watching this movie, it was like watching a foreign film and noticing all the little peculiarities of a culture. And I grew up in New York. So that was interesting.
Levine’s near-clinical observation of a set of unmoored semi-adults is withering, and the detachment disarming as the banalities, rationalizations and self-deceptions that pass for communication pile up. This the most Rohmer-like of the American indies I have seen. There's little moral high ground to be found here, however, and no character seems willing to look for it. Outstanding cinematography, superb acting.
Ah, mumblecore. Again you bring out the very worst in pretentious characters. Some fun moments here at least. But - damn - I would not want to spend a SECOND hanging around any of these horrible people. Just the worst. And watching them go through their machinations is, while intriguing at times, utterly painful. It really goes nowhere and is only a passing of time with these truly despicable characters.
2.5 Was better the first time I saw it, as I was closer to grad school age. Now the characters feel somewhat tiresomely adrift. Foreshadows the "Girls" TV series. Fortunately, Lena Dunham's cameo is very small here. The brother-sister plot is well-handled as both try to navigate their new "adult" relationship. They struggle to show their love via control, guilt, anger, and finally acceptance.
Though I attended art school in the late 70s, this all seems very familiar: the attitudes, the sarcasm, the art blab. This film is very funny at times, and yet the real emotions manage to leak and finally gush through the fragile veneer of irony. Good performances, good film!
While it skillfully put-together, and while the characters were well-written and realistic, having to follow around such brutally loathsome people makes for a really depressing experience. My hatred of all the main characters completely overpowered anything good about the movie.