Pick of the Day: “Language Lessons”
Described as a “weird little movie made in a very weird time about finding friendship in strange places and accepting love even when you think you may not be worth it” by writer, director, star, and exec producer Natalie Morales, “Language Lessons” is a sweet, moving, and thoughtful tribute to an unlikely connection forged online.
The SXSW comedy sees Cariño (Morales), a Spanish teacher living in Costa Rica, hired for a new gig. Adam’s (Mark Duplass) husband surprises him with weekly online lessons. When a tragedy rocks Adam’s world and destabilizes him, Cariño becomes an invaluable lifeline. Whether poolside or by the piano, the pair remain connected via Wi-Fi, and it’s not just Adam who comes to rely on his new friend.
Morales and Duplass have great chemistry, and it’s a joy to watch their characters fall in platonic love on-screen. A beautiful collaboration on-screen and off (Duplass co-wrote the script for “Language Lessons” with Morales), the film works so well — and works period — because of their winning rapport. All 90 minutes of the pic, made during COVID-19, are dedicated to sitting in on their virtual chats. Fortunately, they’re charming enough to sustain the runtime.
“Language Lessons” took home the Narrative Spotlight Audience Award at SXSW. The film marks Morales’ second directorial effort to be released this year. “Plan B,” her comedy about teens racing against the clock in search of the morning after pill in America’s heartland, launched on Hulu in May.
Asked what she’d like audiences to think about after watching the film, Morales said, “I want them to think about the things we assume about other people and how that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what a person really is. Everyone is their own universe,” she emphasized, “and we often cut ties or write people off based on our own bias and skewed perceptions. This movie explores what happens when you get pushed beyond that point.”
“Language Lessons” is now in select theaters. Find screening info here.