Saturday, April 24, 2010

Harmony and Me- He said

Harmony and Me is the typical story of a nice guy, Harmony (Justin Rice), that gets his heart broken by his ex, Jessica (Kristen Tucker), and can’t seem to let go. We have all had those friends, and maybe you have been that person at some point. The all too familiar plot serves as a way to show off the goofy characters and situations that inhabit Harmony’s life. This is the work of Texas director, Robert Byington, who shot this movie in Austin, and cited in a Q&A that the biggest influence for this movie was some of the autobiographical and weird situations that happened to him and how they affected him. It is one of more adorable and charming movies I’ve seen this festival.

The movie starts off with Harmony remembering various times in his relationship with Jessica, while his friends are all having fun around him. Even though he can’t get over her, Jessica is not the nicest of ex-girlfriends calling him all sorts of iterations of the word “loser“. The first time we see Jessica we see that she is debating how long it should take to get over a relationship. She decides that it takes at least half of the length of the relationship to get over that person, but since she knew the relationship was over a while ago she has less time. Too say the least, you are definitely not meant to empathize with her, and this scene shows the kind of humor the movie has. Harmony works in some IT company, and just like with his friends, he makes his coworkers know that his heart is broken. At certain points we go through all of his friends and family who all have advice and over-the-top personalities to go along with them. Out of all the supporting cast, I liked Natasha, the chatty and annoying neighbor. She gets some of the funniest dialogue apart from Harmony.

At one point, Harmony decides he needs to take piano lessons, and he ends up striking a great friendship with his teacher. Byington said Justin had a natural curiosity towards learning instruments, and that his learning process is basically captured on camera. It is pretty exciting to see him getting better throughout the movie. I liked that the movie used music as a source of struggle for Harmony and not just a way to look cool in front of Jessica or sell soundtracks. The movie quickly moves from scene to scene in a way that makes you feel as disjointed from reality as I imagine Harmony being. You can really feel the amount of hurt and numbness that Harmony is in, and I have to give Justin Rice a lot of credit here. Even if he is a little annoying, the director somehow makes you care for him, and by the time he sees Jessica going on a date with the office tool, Matt, you truly feel for him from his subsequent reaction . I enjoyed the fact that by the end of the movie, Harmony finally improves his life even if it happens in the most immature way. I normally don’t like romantic comedies where the protagonist changes his life around in one montage.

Overall Harmony and Me is a cute and enjoyable movie. I think that anyone that has been broken up with or has really sensitive friends should be able to enjoy this movie. The characters are so great here, as are the situations they get put in, which highlights the writing power that Mr. Byington has. I look forward to any other projects he has coming up.

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