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Sundance 2019 Film Review: “Paddleton” (2019) ★★★


There’s a reason why indie films never get enough boost so it can reach a wider audience. Because it happens that the important subject matters are being explored to target only certain viewers. But what about the rest? “Paddleton” co-written by Mark Duplass and Alex Lehmann, and directed by Alex Lehmann is a charming story of an unlikely friendship that must be able to spread its wings so that every person on earth can learn from it. Because when two can rely on each other, the two can help each other unconditionally, and what has been told in this wonderfully adorable film is that money can never buy any of this. Period.

Andy and Michael are neighbors. Andy lives on a level up, and Michael enjoys the ground floor. Suddenly, Michael is diagnosed with a terminal illness, and the cancer is about to claim his life. When the two begin recapping what they have found out and what to do next, the men embark themselves on an emotional journey filled with tears, laughter, heart-warming atmosphere and even frustration. But there will not be a single moment where one won’t back another.

The entire film is based on Andy and Michael’s truly profound friendship. While some may consider them as a gay couple, or that the two men are deeply in love with each other, this film, however, never takes the subject further to feed the curiosity, but rather follows the same pace built from the start, while the narrative keeps it as real as possible, like everything you see before your eyes is occurring next to you.

In conclusion, “Paddleton” is a fine portrayal of the friendship of two men who are like a married couple, always arguing, but their argument never takes a serious turn. They love each other deeply, respect each other like none before. But all that respect and love comes because of their mutual understanding, fulfilling one another’s needs, by being loyal friends. And that’s what I liked the most about this film – it exists in its own universe, which quite frankly is hard to leave after the end credits roll black.

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