2011-2020ArthouseDramaJoe SwanbergUSA

Joe Swanberg – Build the Wall (2020)

Kent is turning 50 and his plans for a fun birthday weekend with Sarah are upended when his friend Kev arrives to build him a wall. Joe Swanberg (“Hannah Takes The Stairs,” “Drinking Buddies,” Netflix’s “Easy”) returns to his no-budget roots for “Build the Wall,” a low-key relationship comedy/drama set in the woods of Vermont. After drunkenly agreeing to let Kev build him a stone wall for his upcoming milestone b-day, Kent is surprised and frustrated when a pile of stones shows up to his house, and work on the wall begins. This conflicts with his more soberly devised plan to host a friend from L.A., Sarah, to discuss an artistic partnership and possibly a romantic connection. While Kev hammers away, Kent connects with Sarah by throwing hatchets, chopping down trees, and skinny dipping in a brook. But for all his burly outdoorsy activities, he’s neurotic about small things inside his home, shoes in the house, shower curtain placement, for instance. Though he craves intimacy, he generally struggles with Sarah’s presence which culminates in a disastrous 1-2 punch: an incredibly awkward sexual encounter, and an equally uncomfortable confrontation about a new vacuum cleaner. Repeat Swanberg collaborators Kent Osborne, Jane Adams, and Kevin Bewersdorf (“Uncle Kent,” “All the Light in the Sky” “LOL,” et al) carry the load here in a simply framed character study that’s both subtly funny and truthful. Swanberg has a penetrating eye for social dynamics, idiosyncrasies, small instances of conflict and miscommunication, highlighting the psychology and worldviews involved. “Build the Wall” tackles the fantasy of isolation, showing the appeals — drawing peacefully in the woods, tending to pot plants — but also a healthy dose of unsocialized behavior, anxiety about aging, and dealing with old friends with divergent life paths.

2.26GB | 56m 57s | 1920×1080 | mkv



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