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‘Walk With Me’ Film Review: Three Stars

Image from “Walk With Me” courtesy of Isabel Del Rosal.
By Jesse Mudgett

The creation of an independent drama film is an incredibly difficult venture for young filmmakers. The threat of getting caught in a flurry of cliches and plot contrivances is constantly looming, all while the filmmaker is also trying not only to tell their story competently, but also to introduce us to their own unique, creative voice. Isabel Del Rosal’s feature film debut “Walk With Me” (showing at The Savoy starting Aug. 8), an LGBTQ romance story about second chances and finding yourself, thankfully avoids most of these pitfalls and is a promising, albeit imperfect film that displays the promising talent of much of the cast and crew.

The script, penned by Del Rosal, has enough coincidences and sudden, unexplained changes in characters’ attitudes that it would not be completely unwarranted to momentarily believe it is simply another generic romance film. However, where it differentiates from those films is through the earnestness of its main characters and the intelligent way the actors portray them. 

Film newcomer Devin Dunne Cannon and the multi-talented Bridgett Barkan have a subtle, quiet chemistry that makes them a compelling onscreen couple, even if their relationship occasionally dips too deep into melodrama and corny dialogue. And although some of the background performances are not nearly as strongly written or performed, overall they never take away the story the film is telling. 

Where the film begins to falter is in its inconsistent pacing and tone. At times, the film feels like it struggles to balance important moments from the onscreen couple’s relationship that drive the plot forward with the little, more insignificant moments that help you believe the couple’s relationship is real. Because of this, the film often gives the impression that it is a collection of moments, rather than a traditionally cohesive story. This is not helped by the low-key cinematography by Yura Makarov or the mellow soundtrack, composed by Amanda Walther. Although they are both admittedly impressive production-wise and fit the more relaxed scenes nicely, when applied to the dramatic moments, they feel slightly disjointed.

Undoubtedly the strongest element of the film is the passion of the talent behind it and the strong message it displays with pride. This is no doubt thanks to Isabel Del Rosal, who in addition to being the director and writer is also the editor of “Walk With Me.” The story is told confidently by Del Rosal, who admirably makes the choice to avoid as many Hollywood clichés as possible and tells a story that is proud of its admittedly small scale. And although much of the directing in the film is fairly standard, when Del Rosal decides to get creative with the camera work, it is both impressive and rewarding. And even though the message of acceptance and facing adversity head-on is nothing new, it is still extremely relevant and fits the film nicely.

“Walk With Me” is currently streaming on Tubi for free and it is available to rent on most renting services. It shows at The Savoy Theater in Montpelier starting August 8. The film is absolutely worth seeing and cements Del Rosal as a talent to watch for years to come.