The Puffy Chair
The Puffy Chair is one of those seriously low-budget, independent films that reminds you that you really don’t need a $100 million dollars to create a bitchin’ film. I chose to watch this film after last weekend’s viewing of Baghead, (click here to read that review) a more recent film from the Duplass brothers, and couldn’t have been more satisfied. Released on the festival circuit in 2005, and a limited release in north America in 2006, this brilliant gem slipped under most people’s radar.
Another one of those mumblecore films, The Puffy Chair was filmed exclusively with hand cams, and follows a group of regular looking people played by unknown actors, where they experience regular, every day things, and everyday relationships. The main characters, Josh and Emily, have a solid relationship (with their own problems, but still solid) and set off on a road trip to pick up a puffy chair on the way to Josh’s dad’s for a birthday surprise. On the way, they stop at Rhett’s, Josh’s brother, to visit. Uninvited, Josh joins the trip and the rest of the film focuses on the interaction of the characters and the few others they meet along their journey. It doesn’t sound like much, but it makes for one hell of an entertaining hour and twenty two minutes.
Supposedly, mumblecore films are meant to look, and feel amateurish. The Puffy Chair doesn’t. It feels real. The acting wasn’t amateurish one bit either. While a few of the characters are kind of flat, the leads play people we can relate to, and experience things we’ve experienced, making it easy to lose yourself in the excellent writing and production skill of the Duplass brothers (who both wrote and directed).
While the style takes a little getting used to, it’s well worth the effort. This film is more poignant than you’d expect and more important than first meets the eye. It will blow you away and will leave you waiting for the Duplass brothers’ next project.
Rated R for language.