Another day at the Dances With Films Film Festival led to another indie film to review. I Wrote This For You is a Drama about Hunter, played by Brennan Keel Cook (“Baskets (TV)”), a young poet who’s sense of reality is blurred in the wake of a tough break up. Ariana, Hunter’s Ex girlfriend is portrayed by the memorable Malese Jow (“The Social Network”, “NCIS: Los Angeles (TV)”).
From the opening scene of the movie, we see these two elements colliding. Sometimes it is a visual effect that briefly shows Hunter’s visions seeping into the real world, other times it’s done through the many dream/fantasy sequences in the movie.
I feel there were a few too many of these dream scenes in I Wrote This For You, like an impromptu musical dance number for example. That aside, I do appreciate what the filmmakers are doing here. These departures from the narrative do give this simplistic love story more scope.
A big element of this movie is a place Hunter and many other Los Angeles bohemian types flock to called the Slam House. This is basically a night club that holds an open mic for Slam Poetry readings.
If you have not heard of Slam Poetry, that is performing Poetry on stage, but it is done with feeling and rhythm. Slam poetry moved out of the streets and into pop culture thanks to the 2010 documentary Louder Than A Bomb.
The Slam House is where Hunter connects with a new love interest, an outgoing poet named Phoenix, played with natural grace by Serra Naiman. I did not object to the character, but I could see how some people could criticize how Phoenix is portrayed.
After they meet Phoenix ends up staying at Hunter’s place because he learns she would be out on the street otherwise. She tells him before that she was living with another guy…. etc.
The story continues with Hunter deciding if he should let Phoenix into his life, while he is still haunted by Ariana’s memories and the hope that she may come back.
The host at the Slam House, Darius, played by Patrick R. Walker (“Rings”, “The Resident (TV)”) serves as a motivating force for Hunter.
If I had to compare this movie to another, I would pick The Softness Of Bodies, which I also reviewed here. That movie also dealt with a young poet trying to find themselves.
A few important facts to note, I Wrote This For You was written by the movie’s lead, Brennan Keel Cook. This is his first feature writing credit.
The poems performed by Hunter, Ariana and Phoenix in the movie were all written by Jasmine Williams, a well known writer in the Slam Poetry sub-culture.
The other five poems in the movie were performed by professional spoken word artists, with their own work. This was a great touch, which added some authenticity to the story.
I must admit, I feel a little neutral on I Wrote This For You. Parts of it I loved, like the poetry for example. Other sections did not jive however, like the amount of dream sequences and lead characters that could have been developed much more.
What I absolutely did like, was the ending of the movie. I Wrote This For You has one of those endings that makes your brain spark and your blood surge, and while I was watching this movie I did not expect that kind of depth for an ending at all.
By the ending, I also mean a post credit sequence that you should stick around for. Great endings have a way to redeem the rest of the movie which preceded it….. at least to some degree.