Drinking Buddies is the biggest surprise I’ve had at the movies this summer, probably even the whole year. When I first heard of Drinking Buddies and saw the trailer, I was mildly interested. I loved the cast but the plot seemed a little too generic for me. When I finally saw the movie a couple months ago, I was wowed. Director/writer Joe Swanberg conjures up a film full of real characters dealing with love, friendships and relationships in way that rings very true.
Set at a real Chicago-based brewery, Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson) are best friends and co-workers at Revolution Brewing. They love beer, drinking and hanging out. The camaraderie between the two flirts between platonic to occasionally something a little more. However, both are invested in their own relationships. Kate is dating Chris (Ron Livingston), a guy that is kind of opposite of her outgoing and fun self. Luke has been in a long term relationship with Jill (Anna Kendrick), but has been avoiding the “marriage question” much to Jill’s dismay. The couples decide to spend a weekend together at a lake cabin, and it’s there where things and perspectives begin to shift.
If you ever had doubts regarding any of these actors’ abilities, just watch this movie so you can get rid of them. The performances made this film. I loved how nuanced and comical they were. Mostly improvised, it’s the little things that really struck home and made these characters feel so real, like those awkward quiet beats during a serious or heartbreaking conversation. There are many standout scenes in this movie. The chemistry between all of them, but especially Wilde and Johnson, was comfortable yet electric. The “Will they or won’t they?” holds you in suspense throughout the entire film. Watching these four characters intertwine into each other’s lives brings up so many questions and issues that a lot of people their age are dealing with in their relationships and friendships today.
The brewery backdrop was an added bonus, seeing as I live in Chicago, but also because it added to the film’s uniqueness. Every aspect of this film fits together nicely, even when the drama going on in the film is a little messy.
While I enjoyed the film from the beginning, the part that made me absolutely love it was the ending. It all comes down to that meaningful moment—a moment that I think most people can relate to having. It’s literal, yet open to so much interpretation.
I didn’t expect Drinking Buddies to offer something that felt as real and thoughtful as it is. There are lots of good releases out this weekend to enjoy. The most I ask is to consider making Drinking Buddies one of them.
Drinking Buddies starts playing in select theaters on August 23rd. It’s available now on OnDemand, iTunes and Amazon.