Sundance 2017 Review: Band Aid – Songs From A Marriage

Movies about couples bickering can too easily devolve into “men are like this, women are like that.” In Band Aid, writer-director Zoe Lister-Jones brilliantly cuts through to the heart of a truly loving couple with legitimate problems, and their endearing way of reconnecting.

Even when Ben (Adam Pally) and Anna (Lister-Jones)’ first scene devolves into a fight, they end up singing “f*** you” at each other. That’s an endearing takedown of common hostility and also proves to be foreshadowing. Ben and Anna start to write songs about their fights and it begins to heal their marriage. Dave (Fred Armisen) is their neighbor and also a drummer so they enlist him for percussions.

Their music is catchy in an unpolished garage way and it is genuinely sweet to see Anna and Ben become happy again. When they start getting along, they need to fake fight to have something to write about and that deconstructs how petty many arguments are.

It reignites their sex life and it’s refreshing that it wasn’t the woman who was disinterested. Ben was ambivalent but not dissatisfied that their sex had waned. Then they have a garage sex scene which deconstructs that impromptu bend over kind of movie sex scene, with one absurd element that totally makes the joke.

Even with the music, Ben and Anna eventually have to confront their issues head on. Both Lister-Jones and Pally get raw and emotional. This is a Sundance comedy which really means it’s still a drama with jokes, or it’s a comedy with heart and it is really funny. The songs written by Lister-Jones and Kyle Forrester are funny and their observations, up until it gets serious, are witty too.

Band Aid has a really good message at its core. Ben says, “Failing doesn’t make you a failure. It makes you an artist.” That is true. The greatest successes learned from their mistakes, or learned how to deal with things they couldn’t control. Failures don’t come from an abundance of failings. They come from a lack of trying. Lister-Jones took big risks with Band Aid and they paid off.

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