The Loneliest Boy Band

By Natalie Falt | Drama
A young man is as excited about having a date as he obsesses about boy bands.

Dusty Jacobson is an obsessive fan of boy bands. He’s learned all his dance moves from the Backstreet Boys and can sing like an extra member of N’Sync. And now he’s a grownup, just trying to get a date online.

Now hope has come in the shape of a first date with someone named HungBrad. Will Dusty find love… and will HungBrad even show up to Dusty’s favorite Italian restaurant?

Writer-director Natalie Falt, along with co-writer and lead actor Arne Gjelten, have crafted a portrait of hope, loneliness and self-expression, in the shape of a mock documentary.

The cinema-verite-style camerawork follows Dusty as he dances in his room, wanders at a mall, tries on clothes at a store. The camera is a reliable companion for Dusty, who talks and shares his hopes, dreams and fantasies. It also captures a terrific performance by Gjelten, who essays an exuberant yet nuanced performance as Dusty.

He often plasters a veneer of irrepressible charm and joy over his vulnerability, creating a fascinating tension that plays out within the compact narrative — and proving a delight for the audience to watch. The charming storytelling and brisk editing captures Dusty’s journey with a buoyancy and lightness of touch, making what is actually a small-scale but well-structured narrative seem gentle and offhand.

Watching Dusty try to maintain and then lose his joie de vivre in the face of uncertainty is a process both specific to this character but also extremely relatable to any human who’s struggled in the pursuit of happiness. “The Loneliest Boy Band” may be a fictional character portrait and a cinematic Polaroid of one moment in a life, but its emotion and vulnerability resonates well beyond its seemingly modest framework.

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