I’ll let you in on a secret, I have never seen The Notebook. I know gasp and clutch your pearls. But seriously, while I might love me a good romance in a book or musical, movies just tend to fall flat. That was until The Park Bench. Written and Directed by Ann LeSchander, The Park Bench shines a new, low key light on a classic tale. I loved the mellow feeling the movie created as it follows the leads Walter Perez (Mateo) and Nicole Hayden (Emily) as their relationship grows over a few months period.
The great thing about this movie, that sets it apart from the rest, is that it really gives a feeling of authenticity to the plot. It wasn’t characters falling in love at first site, an epic situation forcing them together, or something surrounding high school. The Park Bench is prime example of how love can easily sneak up on two people living life. I also loved how the plot wasn’t thrown together to achieve at the climax faster, but to create a smooth recap of small every day moments that lead to something beautiful.
While the movie focuses on Emily and Mateo, we do get small glimpses into their personal life through small cameos. While we are introduced to Emily’s fiancé, I find it refreshing that they didn’t put focus on creating drama between the three and creating the Hollywood favorite, Love Triangle. This left the movie uncomplicated so that I could really focus on connecting with the characters.
I think another thing that eased The Park Bench into one of the slots for my top movies, was the fact that it had animation. I thought it was beyond clever how the animation was used, mixing in with the live action of the film. I wasn’t sure at first how I thought the two would merge, it is a tricky line between awesome and cartoonish. But after the first introduction to the animation, I knew that they had found the perfect balance. It wasn’t just random cartoons popping up; Ann LeSchander found a common theme to work them in, which allowed the movie to flow effortlessly between present and story.
But really there are just so many amazing things in this movie. The way the actors were developed and the depth that went into them. The way the parts of the story were broken up as if they were small chapters in a book we were reading. To the way that the actors just shone and grabbed the viewers attention. Basically, this movie rocked.
The Park Bench is a great movie for when you want to hang with the pals for movie night, curl up alone (or with fur babies) and mellow out, or to share with your special person. So add it to your list. Besides how can you turn down any movie when the production cast is titled Cake & Ice Cream Productions!
If you want to see it in the theater, it will open at the Arena Cinema theater in Los Angeles on August 21st, 2015