SXSW 2018: “Write When You Get Work” Review

SXSW 2018: “Write When You Get Work” Review

Write When You Get Work tells the complicated and interwoven story of Jonny (Finn Wittrock) and Ruth (Rachel Keller), former high school sweethearts who are now separated. The death of a close friend brings them together, and despite Ruth’s attempts to stay out of Jonny’s life, he manages to wedge himself right back into hers. As an admissions counselor at an all-girls’ private school in New York City, Ruth comes into contact with many wealthy people, including Nan and Steven Noble (Emily Mortimer, James Ransone). He decides to use this opportunity and contact with the wealthy to better his own situation, without Ruth’s permission. Jonny manages to bring all his friend’s into this situation, and the results are not what we would have expected.

I didn’t quite expect what I got when I watched Write When You Get Work. The premise seems simple and straight-forward enough but what we are presented in the film is a lot more than the surface story. The film digs deep into our opinions of right and wrong. When Jonny tries to manipulate Nan, at first, you feel like this is wrong because we know that stealing and deception are wrong, but then we ask ourselves if it is worse than what these people are doing? Is it worse than their opinions of people beneath them? It addresses the disparity between the classes and the distribution of wealth and opportunity in this country in a way that is real and immediate. There is a scene where Jonny asks his friend, Valamy (Afton Williamson) if she doesn’t think her daughter is good enough for the all-girls’ school. She responds with “Yes, but I don’t want her to spend her life having to prove that she’s good enough.” I thought this was an incredibly powerful moment that weighed the reality of the situation.

Finn Wittrock and Rachel Keller have great chemistry together and show the history of their relationship in their performance. They show the love that is still there and the pain and anger that is still strong at times. Emily Mortimer as Nan gives a wonderful performance as well, giving us enough to empathize with her but then in the next breath, being so pretentious in the next. All around, the supporting cast was wonderful, and I loved Isabella Blassingame as Mary. She was so adorable and funny.

Even at the heart of the film, Write When You Get Work is a love story between Jonny and Ruth, two people who have to make the best of their situation. Their opportunities in life are not handed to them, and they must work and create opportunities for not only themselves, but they do it for others as well. This again causes us to question right and wrong, and truth and justice. For a short 99 minute film, it tackles some great topics and provides profound commentary on our society.  Write When You Get Work is a love story, heist, thriller, and social commentary film all at the same time. The story and the film are as ambitious as they are poignant and it is a fantastic film for director and writer, Stacy Cochran.

Written by
Ashley Menzel is an avid film lover and lives in Los Angeles, CA. She loves foreign films and dramas and reading books that have film adaptations. Her favorite movie of all time is One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. She loves Doctor Who, Supernatural, iZombie, and Grimm.

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