Review: Drinking Buddies
A glimpse in the life of two best friends and colleges at a brewery who deal with their respective relationships, and all the awkwardness, confusion, and what-ifs that go along with being committed, and also having friends.
Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson make up the heart of the film, while Ron Livingston and Anna Kendrick are their respective partners.
Drinking Buddies may very well be one of the most enduring and timeless films of the year. This low budget, small release is subtle and seemingly universal, cataloguing all the confusion, anxiety, action, and inaction that goes into having friends and having lovers.
With all the appearances of a comedy Drinking Buddies is indeed funny, but it’s not hysterical. While the laugher comes from the familiar and awkward, the closer you look and the more involved you get in this intimate story, the more dramatic and startling it becomes.
Coworkers at a brewery, Kate (Wilde) ad Luke (Johnson) are the best of friends, teasing and joking and spending all sorts of time together, and often drinking. She is beginning to date a quiet a slightly odd music producer named Chris (Livingston), while he has been in a long term relationship with the less animated and more wholesome Jill (Kendrick).
In the beginning it may be hard to know who is with who and for how long, as Kate and Luke have obvious chemistry – but don’t all best friends? Or buddies, in this case? When the four take a trip to a cottage for the weekend, things get especially strange, and whatever blurred lines excited before become especially hazy.
This isn’t about cheating, lying, and the inevitability of sex by any means. It is so incredibly exacting, so careful a film that rarely have characters seemed so real and honest – and thus heartbreaking. It is a story true to life, one that explores who we end up with and asks why? There are unmet glances, drunken decisions, hopeful sighs, and utter frustration coming from every character in different directions.
Written and directed by Joe Swanberg, Drinking Buddies is more serious and impactful that it seems on the surface, propelled by an authentic and compelling performance by Wilde in one of her best roles ever. It is with a deft hand this film is executed, and its story and message will longer for some time to come.
Should You See It?
The sooner the better, and preferably while having a drink with someone whom you consider a good friend…even though they may be more. It needs to be seen and often revisited.