Two single-and-hating-it San Franciscans meet at a house party. There’s Kate, whose fiancé picked up and left her without a trace, and there’s Lee, whose resumé puts him on the business end of a jilting or two. In an effort to climb that career ladder, Lee proposes a totally scripted romantic union to take place over the course of a year: from hookup to breakup. Kate decides to play along, but as the game unfolds, the emotional toll proves a fierce opponent.
Sean Gillane captures some truly genuine moments amidst the hyperstaged concept of The Annual. The characters on the periphery of Lee and Kate’s lives underscore the futility and inevitability of love-then-loss, as they suffer and fantasize through their own issues to no great effect on the film’s primary throughline. The film takes a comedic, self-effacing approach to Lee’s awkward rigidity. A few stilted edits create amusing, rhythmic beats that excuse their scenes, mirroring Lee’s apologetic, ugly-puppy authenticity with an uncanny tonal similarity.
- The Annual (Gillane 2011) @ Red Victorian Movie House