The Boy Downstairs
Stars: Zosia Mamet, Matthew Shear, Deidre O’Connell, Sarah Ramos
Mamet, the third breakout star from Girls (alongside Adam Driver and Allison Williams) has already shone in various supporting feature film roles. Here she gets her own deserved vehicle, a likeable, if insubstantial, romcom in grounded indie trappings. She plays Diana, an aspiring writer of no attributable income (aren’t they all?) who has just moved back to New York after a long stay in London. She manages to find the perfect apartment in Brooklyn with the down-to-earth middle-aged landlady (O’Connell) taking an instant liking to her. She also finds work as a seamstress in a bridal shop (thankfully this is not milked for wry lols with Diana gazing wistfully at the dresses). Everything is going fine until Diana discovers that the boyfriend she left behind, Ben (Shear), is living downstairs. Ben has moved on and is now living with Meg (Ramos), the no-nonsense real estate agent who had sourced the apartment for him. As Diana and Ben tiptoe around each other, the story flashes back to sweetly illustrate their romance. This depiction of a millennial returning to her home town and weighing up her options is redolent of last month’s superior French bittersweet comedy Jeune Femme. Still, Mamet and Shear are a genuinely appealing duo, and exhibit a palpable chemistry, and the film sports a relaxed languid feel, with an appealing air of melancholy pervading throughout.