A funny and highly original rom-com that deserves to be seen
by Martin Hafer
I just saw Love and Hostages at the Tampa Bay Underground Film Festival over the weekend, and the more I think back to the picture, the more I like what I saw. This is because it offered such an original plot and likable characters, I think it would make a perfect date night film. It’s not a film for kids, as the plot is a bit too adult, but for folks looking for a nice romantic comedy, you’d be hard pressed to find something better!
When the film begins, Michael (Randall Core) awakens in bed with a beautiful nude woman wrapped up in the blanket beside him in bed. He also is naked…and realizes it when he looks under the covers! While this would seem like a good thing, he is shocked because he has no idea who she is nor how he got there! He’s embarrassed and simply wants to get out of there. You see him quickly get dressed and is about to leave the woman a note…but thinks better of it and just leaves. As soon as he leaves, Ava (Natalie Stavola) hops out of bed. She’d been pretending to be asleep because she too was embarrassed and had no idea who this man was nor how he got into her bed! When she walks into her living room, however, she is shocked…as although she heard the man leave, he’s now sitting on her couch!
What is going on here and why is the man still there?! Well, after yelling at him and telling him to leave, she opens her apartment door and realizes exactly why he’s there…there is a hostage situation in the apartment across from hers and the police have ordered everyone to stay in their homes until the man is captured! Not surprisingly, this makes for some very awkward and tense moments for the pair…since neither one seems to be able to remember the name of the other! While all this sounds a bit slutty, the writers did a great job of explaining the situation and explaining how all this occurred. And, both people are really, really nice and likable folks…not the sort of people to get drunk and plop into bed at the drop of a hat (or pants!). The problem is that they are both at each other’s throats…so much so that seeing them fall in love seems really, really unlikely!
I loved pretty much everything about this film. While you have a general idea how a film like this must end, the journey there is the key…and Love and Hostages managed do this wonderfully. Very well written characters, cute and surprising plot twists as well as an overall freshness make this a film worth your time. This means that the director (David Vargas) and writer (Javier Mayol) really were at the top of their game…as were the stars and supporting cast. The quality of this indie movie is very surprising, actually, as the film has a very humble pedigree. Like a few very successful recent movies (such as What We Do in the Shadows), it is a crowd funded project and cost a paltry $50,000 to make! And yet, I enjoyed it far more than most of the mega-produced, big-budgeted Hollywood films I’ve seen in recent years.
So how can you see this movie? Well, unfortunately, it’s still doing the film festival circuit and unless you can make it to one of these showings, you may have a to wait a few months until it’s widely available. In the meantime, keep updated by checking their webpage www.loveandhostagesmovie.com, Facebook or Instagram.