In "Visiting Friends," Zach (Michael Farca) is a failed musician now working as a rideshare driver - living in the burbs as a family man and struggling to hold his marriage of nine years together. After picking up Angelina (Giana Carli) for the second time in the night, she emerges from a mansion in tears with fresh bruises affirming Zack's earlier speculation that she is a high-end escort caught in a bad situation.
Zack, while reminded of the abuse endured by his mother, feels compelled to help Angelina in any way that he can. Yet, even when her attempts to seduce him are rejected and met with compassion and an invitation to dinner, she remains suspicious of his generosity. It is in these moments of two storms crossing paths that genuine chemistry is ultimately born.
The core strength of "Visiting Friends," as in most productions, lies in the performances. In this film, each one feels authentic, layered, and sincere. It never feels like someone is trying to steal a moment or rely on a cheap gimmick - never rushing itself while also avoiding being boring. Instead, the film allows us, the viewers, the rare opportunity to spend time with the characters and get to know them a little bit better.
With that written, however, there are a couple of moments where the score seems to be overcompensating for the emotion on screen. Veering slightly towards the sentimental and out of sync with the visual rhythm of the movie. That enlightening score fading softly beneath an exchange on its way toward a resolve will surely help it resonate all the more, no? It felt a little unnecessary in a couple of areas for me - but that all boils down to down to personal preference.
Writer, director, and editor Glenn Garrabrant has a sincere grasp of the human story at the heart of his picture. Simple and effective two-shot exchanges in dimly lit natural settings - using its limited budget to an advantage. "Visiting Friends" is a character piece kept simple through a potent combination of writing, performance, and editing. A strong effort - and solid three and a half stars.