'In a Relationship' review: A familiar journey triggering a new sense of nostalgia thanks to star-studded cast

Sam Boyd's debut Indie film follows the story of two modern-day couples who are as miserable with each other as they are without each other

                            'In a Relationship' review: A familiar journey triggering a new sense of nostalgia thanks to star-studded cast

Getting high and sitting still has its own thrill and that is how Sam Boyd’s debut feature film 'In a Relationship' feels like. There's light, there're cameras and there's action; the fights and sex kind. The new indie film runs for 91 minutes and follows the story of two couples, one with an established relationship and the other one, with a hopeful brewing.

These two sets navigate their relationships on opposite ends and despite the clarity we sense about their respective relationships, they are very complicated individuals. The star-studded cast includes Emma Roberts and Michael Angarano as Hallie and Owen, a couple who moved to Los Angeles from New York. Minutes into the movie or perhaps even in its opening sentence, the film strongly exposes how incompatible they are, although they still cling on to each other.

Relatable? Maybe. But as a single woman in her mid-20s, not really. However, these kinds of relationships are not new or unknown, so maybe some of you can relate. Hallie is portrayed as the stereotypical girlfriend, mainly featured in memes these days, who talks a lot, whines a lot and fights a lot - even during fourth of July when the sky is lit with fireworks.

As they go on with their usual routines of Hallie staying over at his place more often than at her own apartment and indulging in sex and party, their relationship snaps when Hallie suggests she move-in with him to help with rent. Owen does not react favorably and instead decides to break up with her. Hallie feels humiliated. Given that the film feels crudely real, it is hard to take sides so you might as well just let it be and look at the other couple.

Owen's friend Matt, (played by Patrick Gibson) has a major crush on Willa (played Dree Hemingway), Hallie's cousin. She is easily "one of the top three" most beautiful girls on Owen's list and beyond Matt's league. FYI, Matt lives with his parents and has a little-boy room with a tiny bed draped with a rocket bedsheet. On their way home, Uber-ing, they end up making out and having sex in Matt's little-boy room. Thank god his parents were out of town.

Willa, however, is hung up over a douchebag named Jacob (pronounced Yacob). So, it is a situation where it takes time for the good guy to get the girl. Matt is head over heels for Willa and does adorable things such as book an OJ Simpson tour for her as he comes to know she is obsessed with an 8-hour-long documentary on whether he did it or not. Matt takes her to her favorite concerts and even makes a mixtape. Willa gets overwhelmed and goes running for the hills, but she comes around. Then, he sneaks into her DMs, he inclines towards being distant after finding out about Jacob.


The four individuals whose love-lives the story is centered around briefly share a unanimous single moment as Owen and Matt drink beers by duct-taping the bottles to their hands while the two cousins enjoy a girl-time lying in bed. In both cases, they are talking about their lost significant others, cynically.

The story progresses with the impossible couple becoming the possible one and the initially established couple falling into fragments; thanks to Owen's urge to break up with Hallie and explore other sexual-partners, which, of course, does not last. Moments of realization hit all parties involved as they discover that they are as miserable without each other as they are with each other.


Titled 'In a Relationship' there is very little for singletons to expect from the film, except for a sigh of relief that they haven't found anyone yet to dutifully and desirably "resent." The slow-paced film isn't even a rom-com for us to laugh at, but that's a good thing. The film takes us on a journey, which may seem familiar, but triggers a totally new sense of nostalgia - like eating a fresh piece of red velvet cake from a new bakery. 

The characters' lives are not much to see, even when they are together, but the feelings they evoke can only be commended to the stellar acting professionals. It's art in a way, an ordinary art that echoes something new every time. The only question is; do you care to invest your time in the ordinary? If yes, you'll find something, if not, then look the other way for something out of it. 

The film premieres November 9.

Director: Sam Boyd
Writer: Sam Boyd
Stars: Emma Roberts, Michael Angarano, Dree Hemingway, Patrick Gibson, Jay Ellis
Running Time: 1h 32m

Disclaimer : The views expressed in this article belong to the writer and are not necessarily shared by MEAWW.