Four years in the making, Emoticon directed by Olivia De Paolis, is a delicacy and strange sort of combo-meal. A high-end fast food. The producers, top of the line and well partnered, Livia De Paolis, Danielle Eliav and Shuyler Weiss did not hold back when it came to sharing a mixed emotional piece full of youthful vigor. Tempered by the wise counsel of credentialed persons, in this case,psychologist, Hannah Song, cleverly portrayed by Carol Kane, all things come full circle as Elena; played by the Director herself, builds up the nerve to let Walter Nevins, actor, Michael Cristofer, know that she is pregnant. Kane advises Elena to share her news and not be in fear of how Walter may react. Interestingly enough, older men are, at times portrayed as desperately seeking the affection of younger women, who appear to be uninhibited and carefree. Paolis uses wit and charm to weave writer, Sarah Nerboso’s, perception of emotional desolation, as the gap narrows between Nevins two adopted teens, and the intellectual needs of Elena’s inner child become more clear and evident. The dichotomy in this case of the younger woman with her own personal agenda, of having an established ready-made family, although inwardly longing for her own. The director’s hip, one leg into the internet post syndrome and the other grounded in reality, come’s full bloom as inner motives are brought into question. Key scenes show Nevins acting develop into meaningful -dialogue when his affair with Anthropologist, Elena has to be looked, at with a fresh pair of eyes.
The actors come with a blend of independent and big screen accolades and perform in an interactive paradigm as Elena goes back and forth between internet posting and real life activity with Nevins teens. In 2013, Emoticon, won the Cast Collaboration Award and held the coveted position of Dances with Films 2013 (Official Selection) The two teens, actors, Diane Guerrero as Amanda, a native of Boston, and New Yorker, Luke, played by Miles Chandler, are budding not only intellectually but sexually as well, take the challenge of going on a weekend getaway with Elena. Meanwhile, Amanda, who is going through discovering her roots, temporarily cuts ties with her white suburban friends shortly after her inability of having a strong emotional bond with her career bent, adopted mother, goes sour. Amanda seeks further vindication by joining forces with her cultural sista, who although lacking in so called, “sophistication”, makes up for it by showing Amanda how they do it round the way.
Is the fun and carefree thrill of a younger woman enough to sustain a relationship built upon the motto, “it’s just fun, no commitment required”? After vacation and upon Elena’s and the teens return, Walter and Elena have a talk and discuss how Elena’s pregnancy, should be best handled. Elena rejects Walter’s idea to get an abortion, while Walter, quickly finds another young woman and is once again, charged up by the newness of the first meet. The inevitable truth of aging as the one truth reflected in the behavior of Walter and the attitude of the career focused mother of adopted, Amanda and Luke.
Elena, gets a small sample of what the Nevins teens experience in their world of emoticon and social media apps, when her mom played by famed actress, Sonia Braga, insist that she just simply pamper herself. When Luke and Elena hangout with marijuana, while creating some music for Facebook Elena makes a promise that the two would collaborate on Luke’s song. Mutual agreements hold true, as Elena and Walter part ways, Luke and Elena finish their Facebook song, Elena gets an abortion, and introduced to an artist of her age starts a new life, and Amanda gets back in good with the people that care about her most. Emoticon, brings to our attention, and takes a closer look at the part that each one us play in creating harmony or dis-harmony in our human relations. Can the essence of who we are be captured in a pre-determined number of characters.
On May 30, Emoticon, opened with scheduled screenings at Laemmle’s Music Hall 3 in Beverly Hills and the Cinema Village in New York City. www.emoticonthemovie.com.