We start in familiar filmic territory: A group of old friends meet at a cabin to celebrate some special event. In this case, New Year’s Eve. On paper, each friend represents a different type of assumed stereotype: The free spirit musician. The beautiful actress. The loyal wife. The passionate husband. The career man. The rational ex-lover. Think you see where this is going? You’ll be surprised. “Auld Lang Syne” is a film that twists and turns with a refreshing outcome, making sure that this isn’t just one of your usual 'cabin in the woods' scenarios. It takes all of those familiar film quirks and makes something sassy, fresh and new. Here, the cabin horrors between friends become far more comedic and human. You are immediately drawn into this universe, the life of these characters and their arts, and until the last frame, you don’t want to walk away from the progression and regression of friendships and passions on screen. We all have friends. We all know the consequences well. “Auld Lang Syne” does not disappoint in its over-the-top yet surprisingly down to Earth take on our own realities.
Led by Broadway aficionado Johanna McKeon (her directorial debut), with a story by Kimberly Dilts, the ensemble cast is placed into a sort of figurative wagon and steered in the direction of witty genius. The hopes and resolutions of a New Year devolve into hijinks and disasters between 3 couples that play out like an intricate, never ending puzzle. Secrets build on secrets until the structure grows unsteady, revealing all. Real life couple and producers/writers/actors Kimberly Dilts ("Vanessa") and J.T. Arbogast ("Steven") lead the film as party hosts with Lucy Walters ("Sadie") and Caleb Bark ("Jude") playing free-spirited lovers, and Blake DeLong ("Bryce") and Elisabeth Hower ("Jodie") playing a crumbling, high-strung couple with a bombshell of a secret that will change everything. They all fill in the ranks as hilariously nuanced characters, ready to play off each other throughout the film. Much of the ensemble knew each other going into the film, so there’s a natural bond and sense of play between the lot. By the end of the film, the revelations and disasters between "pals" will have you asking, should old acquaintance truly be forgot?! Seems the film’s title, an old Scottish tune and a traditional part of New Year's Eve traditions, is a beacon of what’s to come. Only time (and some delicious pie) will tell the future of these friends, but in the present day, let watching this film not be forgot.
Made by a team of women and on a micro-budget, “Auld Lang Syne” represents everything we need in the independent film industry right now. Its creation serves its outcome well. On top of representation of the underrepresented, discovering this film is like hitting a true indie story jackpot because, well, it's everything: sad, hilarious, true, weird, ridiculous, honest and every little emotion and adjective in between. Stories on the surface and the implied ones below are amazing to witness. Like riding an emotional roller coaster, going ruthlessly up and down, it’s all a bullet shower of fun and games until you start to reflect on your own life. This isn’t just a film about friends and recollections of old times. This is a microcosm of the art world. While a bit jazzed up for entertainment purposes, it’s still very raw. Anyone struggling with work in a creative field or hopelessly trying to find their place in life as an artist will enjoy this film. So, should old acquaintance be forgot? Well, the countdown is over, so pop that champagne and watch the film to find out!
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