Partners (Sundance)

By Joey Ally | Romance
A couple's sex life is in a slump, forcing them to reconsider the relationship.

Long-term couple Kate and Leigh navigates a recent rocky patch in their relationship, but as still-lingering conflicts and resentments begin to surface, they find themselves facing a crucial juncture and confronting just how intertwined their lives have become.

Director Joey Ally has crafted a compact relationship drama that adeptly captures the texture, tones and rhythms of a long-standing intimate relationship with an unerring and entertaining sense of authenticity, humor and honesty.

The couple at the center of the drama is gay, but the film’s strength is both how it captures both the specificity and universality of identity. The well-written script never shies away from their sexuality, capturing through a situation that most people can relate to in some way. The need to feel seen, heard and understood by someone close to you is a universal desire — and a journey that many people, no matter where they stand in the continuum of human sexuality, have some trouble traversing.

The camerawork is intimate and agile, capturing the excellent performances by Hannah Pearl Utt and Jen Tullock, who portray both the points of tension that have built up between two people but also the investment and love they have for one another. Watching them wrangle, banter and try to understand one another offers both a sense that human relationships can be tricky for anyone — but the reward is both well worth it and necessary.

A hit at Sundance, “Partners” may run only seven minutes, but it possesses an emotional intelligence that has an impact well beyond its conclusion. Hugely entertaining and wonderfully warm-hearted, it offers a funny, lovely window into one rich moment in a couple’s life together, in a way that many can understand and relate to.




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