Walk With Me – ★★★ (BFI Flare 2022)

Walk With Me – ★★★ (BFI Flare 2022)

When Isabel del Rosal’s feature debut Walk With Me works, it really works. Sadly though, when the film needs to be more direct, it, like its protagonist, hesitates. Nevertheless, there is a solid to great film here, if only it had been bolder.

As she braves life after divorce, young mother Amber (Devin Dunne Cannon) must challenge herself to take some personal risks after finding love in an unexpected place.

When we first meet Amber, she is seemingly fed up with her marriage to Ethan (Daniel Fox), married too young; her marriage has run as far as it will go. So, she finds that new apartment and begins to rebuild her life while sharing custody of their daughter Emily. Here, she reconnects with her estate agent Logan (Bridget Barkan) in a slight cliché meet-cute. An immediate spark strikes between them, and the unsure Amber boldly takes the step into the unknown.

For a film that rushes itself to find the connection between its two leads and provides us with a whirlwind romance for some reason, it grinds itself down to a halt when it gets to the complexity of what coming out and accepting your own sexuality means and as such the dramatic aspect of Walk With Me wavers when we need it to be strong, almost confident with its story. A majority of scenes go on for a touch longer than they necessarily need to, which only compounds the frustration within the story.

It appears as if Isabel del Rosal’s reasoning was to show the intricacies of this relationship. Still, by focusing so much on the finer details, the film gets stuck as we become impatient with its aimlessness. Scenes are included for a bit of good old forced emotional beats, just to have the two connect, and as quickly as it comes up, it is gone again. You can’t help but be frustrated as there is more than enough here to make Walk With Me a standout film.

For what del Rosal doesn’t get right in her script, there are instances of a diamond firmly in the rough here. Absolutely nailing the fears of someone who has just realised their sexuality well into adulthood and what that means for not only them but their friends and family circle. It excels when the film becomes laser-focused on the trepidation of stepping out of your own shadow to be the person you think you should and deserve to be. It just has too much needless padding around it, when a more experienced hand would perhaps be more concise with the direction of the narrative.

Equally, when we get to see the frustration on Logan’s viewpoint, we are on her side. She has been the one to help guide Amber, and no matter how much Amber tries, those stalls in the relationship cut Logan deep. How many cuts is one willing to take before they decide to take that step back to safety?

By giving us both sides of the relationship, Walk With Me allows us to feel for our characters; they are wholly relatable in their writing. Sadly, there is just too much meandering around them to connect as much as we desperately want to fully. Perhaps this is all too harsh on the film, as said it is still a solid film, but you feel enough for the characters and the situation that you want it to be good, that when you see its fault, you can only lament what could have been.


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