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Written by: Chase Hinton |   Directed by: Ricardo Perez – Selsky |  Genre: Drama

 A love story for our times is what IRL promises anyone who happens on this gem of a film, and I agree 100% with that. Written by Chase Hinton, and at the helm as director Ricardo Perez-Selsky, this little movie that could is actually the little movie that does and if you are into the drama / romance category, I can’t think of a better way to spend 90 minutes. In the film, Ian (Chase Hinton) and his roommate are artists doing what they love, and all the better for it. Only Ian is also looking for a relationship. He’s looking for his dream girl and like a lot of us do nowadays, he has turned to online dating apps. We meet a few of the women Ian sets up dates with and there’s just no connection. In some cases, at all. With Ian’s roommate suggesting he focus on his art, Ian is about to give up when he comes across the seemingly perfect woman. After a few messages, Sophia (Johanna Sol) suggests they talk on the phone and once doing so, the chemistry is undeniable.

 It’s at this point that IRL takes a slight turn, because Sophia doesn’t seem to want the two to meet in person. Sure, there’s always a believable excuse, sort of, but eventually, Ian begins to wonder about his newfound love interest. She won’t even send any pics or video chat. Is it possible she isn’t who she says she is? Ian goes back and forth, with quick hits of detective work he struggles with his feelings for the voice on the phone. Even at one point, turning down an ex girlfriend because he feels guilty over Sophia. IRL paints a picture of what if, and asks a few important questions along the way. Just how important is the physical when it comes to love? Can you fall in love with a voice and have that be enough? Eventually, Ian decides to take matters into his own hands and meet Sophia in person. If you’re wondering what happens next my lips are sealed.

 I really enjoyed the subplot involving Ian’s father (Eric Roberts) and how first it was worked into the conversations with Sophia, and then demonstrated later in the film. It really stood out because I can think of so many people that have experienced family life such as this. It wasn’t just Ian, but his family felt like a group of functioning, dysfunctionals all with their own stories. We get a bit of Ian’s father’s story, and a hint of a reason why he was the way he was, but this powerful scene really opened the doors to Ian’s character flaws, and why they existed. I also really liked the deliberate slower pacing that was counterbalanced with an always moving camera. I’ll admit that sometimes the camera movement was a little over the top, but the goal was accomplished. Adding some much needed action to what could have been pretty dull scenes. The majority of this film involves talking on a phone, or looking at a phone. The spiced up cinematography really brought this movie to life.

 This film is one about dating and the state of dating in today’s world but it doesn’t stop there. There’s a lot of things happening in this movie that work to make what could have come across as very simplistic, feel very complex. IRL is marketed as a love story for the times, but there’s a lot more to it. I feel four stars are not only a great rating, but totally earned by the cast and crew. It’s been a slice, thank you for reading.

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