Writer / Director Tim Kirkman has rendered a delicate and touching love story in his recent feature film effort, Lazy Eye. While the film has played quite well on the LGBQT film festival circuit, the film’s theatrical release, which is due in November, is likely the result of the strong writing and performances throughout. The story centers around a familiar, modern scenario, when middle-aged graphic designer Dean (played by Lucas Near-Verbrugghe) receives an email from an estranged ex. Kirkman’s writing and directorial style shine right out of the gate, painting a clear character portrait of Dean’s simultaneous conflict in receiving the contact, and longing for all the possibilities inherent in it as well. Near-Verbrugghe’s choices for Dean are right on the money, striking each note clean and true.
Throughout this languidly paced film, Kirkman quietly adds layers, giving an intimate insight into the lives of the reunited lovers. For his part, Aaron Costa Ganis brings a great openness to the role of Alex, and though maligned early on by Dean for his role in their separation, we come to find, that like all relationships, there are two sides to every story. This again highlights the subtle nuance of Kirkman’s storytelling, as he quietly upsets expectations, almost letting the story tell itself. By the end, we are treated to the clear vision that Dean has been longing for and Alex seems to have had all along, namely that their romance was fleeting and against their brightest hopes, time hasn’t changed that. The story works because it’s so relatable, as anyone who has rekindled a past romance could attest. What makes Lazy Eye exceptional is the subtlety of the telling.
Michaela Watkins makes a brief, but memorable turn early on, and it would have been nice to see more of her character in the film, because she played it with some really fun choices. Gabe Mayhan did a wonderful job capturing both the expansive desert landscapes and the intimate moments, making great use of the light and the available space. Steven Argila’s quiet score underpins the film nicely, adding to the film’s already rich palette of story telling tools. All in all, this is a film that transcends the ostensible LGBTQ theme, and is rather simply a well-told, well-acted, and well-shot romantic film by grown-ups, for grown-ups. It’s touching, poignant and the ending almost feels like it was inevitable, even if all of us, including the characters, wished it somehow could’ve worked out. But, in the end, perhaps it did after all. C’est la vie, as they say.