By Kevin Rios | Comedy
As twin sisters binge watch a teen-soap, one tries to navigate her first relationship while the other manifests her ultimate fantasy.

Ani and Ale are two twin sisters. But one thing brings them together: their favorite teen soap opera “Runyon,” which features their favorite character Johnny, a James Dean-like heartthrob, which they binge on a regular basis.

Both girls are obsessed with Runyon, which serves as common ground as they navigate their diverging life experiences. One is in the throes of her first relationship, while the other is content to stare at a screen all day. The two haven’t had a conversation in years, and have always had their battled, but as they mature, their relationship grows even more dysfunctional and even corrosive.

Writer-director Kevin Rios’s short comedy explores sisterhood, modern celebrity culture and escapism, captured in sun-soaked, often luminous cinematography and sharp performances. The film cleverly intersperses scenes from “Runyon” with moments from the twin sisters’ lives. The scenes-within-scenes are a perfectly calibrated homage and send-up of teen melodrama, with the soap opera’s being played by real-life teen stars Alisa Boe and Brandon Flynn of “13 Reasons Why.”

But as the twins’ lives grow increasingly dramatic — and the distance between them increases — they begin to converse with “Runyon” in fascinating, disquieting ways.

“Binge” entertains with its take on media culture, but it also offers an incisive look at how emotional life is shaped by it. It’s natural for even the closest of siblings to differentiate, but watching a sisterly relationship sour slowly also adds a level of melancholy. The execution of the film’s storytelling is often off-hand and deceptively casual, but ultimately this smart and engaging film asks poignant questions that linger well after it’s over.

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