Poignancy, honesty, and maturation.
Relationships, careers, love, loss, heartbreak, the past, the future, and more are all themes explored in 2017’s The View From Here.
The film, produced by Arizona-based Broom Horse Pictures, is an indie romantic drama that follows Bay Area chef Mark Matheson, and designer Gillian Broche. Mark is a determined up-and-coming chef who is looking to carve out a place for himself in the cutthroat San Francisco culinary scene while moving past his personal demons. Gillian is a fresh-out-of-school designer who is also determined to live out her dream career in the bay.
While his restaurant “Smoke and Fire” is being built, he and his business partner Peter take a chance and hire Gillian – a restaurant designer who has yet to design a restaurant – to design the place. From the instant that Mark and Gillian lock eyes, it is obvious that they have a connection. Mark feels at home around Gillian, in a way that he has never felt around anyone, even his family. She pushes him to let his guard down and truly be himself.
As their relationship blossoms, and they learn more about each other, more than a few complications arise. Career choices, arguments, and inner demons most of all threaten to derail the love that they share.
Terrific acting and pacing lift the story up.
The View from Here may seem familiar to some at first glance, but the acting is first-rate, making the film worth watching on its own merit. 90% of the scenes involve the two main characters Mark (Kellen Garner, also the director) and Gillian (Dorèe Seay), and they do not disappoint. The chemistry between them is phenomenal – they handle every moment, every glance, and every scene with an infectious and irresistible connection. Dorèe Seay carries Gillian with a quiet, heartbreaking intensity, and Garner plays Mark with a conflicted, passionate drive.
The rest of the cast is rounded out quite well – Peter is played by Eli Godfrey, who is downright hilarious. LeBlanc, a notoriously harsh food critic, is portrayed in pompous glory by Kevin Tye. Colin Kendrick, a local magazine writer played by Jeremy Andorfer-Lopez, steals his scene in a tense interview with Mark.
The film is confidently paced, and while it moves along at a slow rate, no scene is wasted. It starts off in the present, two years after the events of the film, where Mark and Gillian are discussing the past on a park bench. It goes back and forth between the stages of their relationship and their present conversation, adding a layer of narrative depth that is welcome. I am sometimes wary of stories that bounce around in this way, but it is never confusing – their conversation unfolds in perfect conjunction with the story, and the sometimes joyous, sometimes tragic pieces of information that are revealed are given at the perfect times.
I’ve got to say – the selection of San Francisco for the setting was an excellent choice. The set pieces and landscape serve an important role in bringing the story to life, as it can be shown as a city full of wonder, or a bleak harbor of broken dreams. Some of my favorite moments in the movie came in conjunction with the Redwoods or the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.
I am a notorious crier in movies – as the film came to a close, my eyes were already wet. My tears weren’t shed lightly, though. Romance films can be a dime a dozen, but I can unabashedly say that The View From Here moved me. Its themes about adult relationships were honest and necessary.
Of course, a shout out has to be given to the music – the score is entirely original, recorded live in a studio for the film. The music is compelling, emotional, and perfectly woven into the story
Before I end this thing, though, I have to make one request of director Kellen Garner and the rest of the team –
MAKE ME SOME DANG FOOD! (please!)
Mark Matheson is a terrific chef in the film, and the dishes he makes are to die for. My stomach was growling in those cooking montage scenes….
And this crab eggs benedict looks FREAKING AMAZING.
(That is all. But seriously, please).
I was ecstatic to see the final product behind a largely local, independent, Arizona-based film. Support indie films, and treat yourself (food puns!) to a sound drama film.