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‘Here We Are’ slacks on romance, succeeds in motivation

@drfunkenstein12

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Getting stuck is the trap that everyone faces in their lives. If you don’t continue to move forward, then you sink into a vat of conformity and stagnation. This trapping of the metal jungle, aka the city, is a subject that many filmmakers have focused on, especially in the independent film community.

“Here We Are” tells the story of Andy (Alex Dobrenko), a poet and writer who is in the middle of becoming stuck in Austin. He owes his brother a couple grand, is dating a woman (Amanda Hays) who has no focus on him, and has written anything in awhile. The first act of film is composed of Andy drifting around town, getting drunk at parties, getting dumped by his girlfriend and spouting empty words that he’ll get out of this town.

Andy takes off jobs in order to pay his brother back; painting, manual labor and etc, in order to achieve his goal of fixing up the old family RV. He plans to take the defective vehicle and go off into the unknown, letting the wind lead him, in search of the American unknown. This becomes Andy’s crutch in the film, never settling down and starting to build a life because he’s working to fix the broken vehicle.

After going to a party with his best friend, Travis (Chase Joliet), another aspiring writer, Andy is told about a clinic trial that pays large sums of money in return for being a human guinea pig for about a week. All one has to do is test a drug, and let the medical staff observe the side effects. Andy decides this is the path for him to pay his debts back, and finally get the RV in shape.

Most of the film takes place in the research facility, which director David Bellarosa created inside an old factory in Austin. Bellerosa, a set designer before directing this film, creates a genuine and realistic set, with every little detail adding to the experience of these people being treated like animals. The two upsides to the situation are Andy has a lot of free time to try and write, and he meets Misty (Olivia Grace Applegate), another subject and writer.

Andy and Misty quickly bond over their love of writing, as well as the desire to escape. A touching scene occurs when Misty and Andy recount their reasons for wanting to get a quick sum of cash. Misty reveals that she was a bartender, and did foot stuff in order to make her money, and she was tired of it. There isn’t pride in what she’s had to do, but Misty instantly turns it on Andy when he begins to insult her choices. Both come across as layered, flawed characters that exist independent of each other.

From this point, most of the time in the facility is the unfolding love story of the two, as they steal glances across the cafeteria, to passing notes like lovesick teenagers. Their touching moments, and Bellarosa captures them well, lingering on the faces and various notes to indicate the building importance.

The film calls to mind the early years of director Richard Linklater, with the use of slacker protagonists and Austin as the colorful backdrop of the film. While Linklater prefered to use the downtown and U.T. area of the city, “Here We Are” is more concerned with the east side, and the state of decay the area is in. Just like the lives of Andy and his friend Travis, this part of the city is stagnant, with nothing changing for the better or worse.

The film ends with Misty and Andy getting to escape, looking towards Florida for the next adventure. The two achieve their goal, and come to realize that in order to keep moving you actually have to try your hand at being active in life. Ultimately “Here We Are” continues to be a fascinating look into the way roots can hold us back, or help help push you forward.

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‘Here We Are’ slacks on romance, succeeds in motivation