‘IRL’ tells the story of Ian, an artist with no success in his work and his love life, until a dating app connects him with the love of his life. The only problem is she’s really far away from him.
Directed by: Ricardo Perez-Selsky.
Starring: Chase Hinton, Johanna Sol, Eric Roberts, Montserrat Salaza, Alexandra Hellquist, Elise Luthman, Julia Parker, Michael John Madden, Shannon Foster, Molly Beucher, Gabriella Gonzalez, Samantha Cutaran, Taymour Ghazi, Haskell V. Anderson III, Pam Shayne Murray, Cynthia Lou.
Country: United States.
Genre: Drama, romance.
Running time: 95 minutes.
After seeing IRL my immediate reaction was to write about it and question its unexpected resolution. I dealt with it for about an hour, and noticed how unfair it would have been to criticize a movie just because it did not portray a victory for a central character. Thinking about it, Chase Hinton, the writer and star of IRL, made his decision. And that we should respect.
Definitely, one of the reasons some of us embark on romance movies is to notice achievements in a couple of hours, that would never take place in real life. I typically like more the realistic approach in these movies, but sometimes you just let go. IRL is a “dream” we’ve all begun at some point of our lives (nowadays it’s rare to find someone who hasn’t experienced online dating), but Ian’s ending is distant from what anybody deserves. Sure, I wanted to scream at him for being an idiot. But we’ve all been that idiot, even if the circumstance is not the same. IRL is not the movie I thought it was immediately after the credits rolled. It’s an indie exploration of a universal situation that has been widely accepted, and sometimes we don’t even understand its whole concept.
Ian is an artist. He tries to paint something he can show in an art gallery. Instead he just does logos for the guy in charge. He’s also an addict of online dating apps, having tried them all, and getting nothing good out of them. But one day Ian finds Sofia. Her profile is practically tailor made for him. They begin talking every day, and soon they find each other enamored with the idea of them being couple. It’s all pictures, text messages, and conversations over the phone. In today’s digital age, one instantly questions the lack of video and when Ian does it, he finds Sofia is “unable” to video chat with him. Insisting may represent the termination of something he’s always dreamed of, even if it’s only remained living through bits and bytes.
Chase Hinton is the sole star of a movie he carries in his shoulders from beginning to end. IRL is not as complex as it could be, since most of the movie is based on the idea of him falling for someone who actually exists on the other end of the line. As viewers, we find ourselves wondering why he’s fallen in this rat hole; we know how toxic these things end up to be. But hope is there. It’s an alive factor in Ian’s journey.
IRL is a movie that uncovers some of those features we find in the average online dating practice. There’s a pivotal scene in which we meet Ian’s dates and notice the basic issues of the whole context. And even if the movie takes on a optimistic direction, our posture is undeniable. We are solid in our interpretation of the situation. It may be a case of “catfishing”, or even a dangerous setting with terrible consequences for an innocent guy. Or maybe it will something as basic and common like a heart being broken.