Playing at select theatres now and VOD beginning Nov 7
Maybe what Kristina (Lindsay Anne Williams) has to do to get past her relationship woes is to “Open” her heart and go through the motions so she can heal. Although a certain Roxette song came to mind while watching this romantic comedy, there’s not much I could find that relates to this film’s theme. Instead, Mama Mia screamed at me, and ABBA’s music for that concept album is still playing in my head as I write this review.
Although this character drama describes itself as Marriage Story meets Scott Pilgrim vs the World, I’m sensing other works were also an influence. The New Wave, Jazz, Country and Punk driven music video dream-sequences sets this work apart from others I’ve seen. And although the composition of these songs aren’t as snappy at the start, as long as you’re willing to wait it out, the scores get better! The early tracks are too heavy in psychoanalyzing what this protagonist is feeling, and honestly, the later tracks improve so that what’s felt is like a day tripper! But as for whether this work is meant to be a tribute to musicals, I doubt Miles Doleac had that in mind when directing this film.
It’s mostly a character drama that examines what Kristina is going through as she’s going through a messy separation. I get the feeling Williams wrote the screenplay to deal with some personal issues too, and what’s presented will only be relatable to those who have faced similar situations. Whitesnake’s song, “Is This Love,” is certainly alluded to.
When the music video tapestry comes alive, the 80s driven synth-pop dreams really work to show us her state of mind. Just why they are presented in this format is unknown, because there’s nothing in her waking world which alludes to her love for MTV. In these subconscious manifestations, she’s undecisive in her songs about whether she loves Erik or not. I had to laugh. To say I’m getting one dose of poison is okay by me, even though she’s a much older version of Lita Ford and doesn’t quite nail the sexy right away. This movie feels more like an attempt at Streets of Fire for the 40 something crowd.
And when this wannabe beau gets his own country rock moment in his own video, I was rolling on the floor! What makes these sequences stand out is when the backup singer breaks the fourth wall and recognises how bad the song is and has to leave. Thankfully, the tunes get progressively better and the last few songs are very boppy, if I’m using the lingo of the era correctly.
Although Kristina hopes to make a fresh new start, it’s not going to come easy. Between Erik (Jeremy London, who at times looks like he’s channelling Robert Downey Jr., as Tony Stark), the new man in her life, and (a coincidentally named) Robert, her former beau. The conflict these boys have between each other needs better fleshing out since the story meanders at times. I’m more interested in the songs since it has to eventually come to some revelation, and this movie titled Open can close. In this case, It’s not the end of the world as [she] knows it (and feels fine). Although REM has the trademark on that song, all the nostalgia that gets referenced is enough to get my seal of approval.
3½Stars out of 5