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As of Yet ★★★★



Director: Taylor Garron & Chanel James

Cast: Taylor Garron, Eva Victor, Amir Khan, Quinta Brunson, Ayo Edebiri

Released: Tribeca Film Festival 2021

As of Yet is one of those pandemic influenced films executively produced by the Duplass Brothers and made during that year when the world effectively stood still. Domestic arrangements previously taken for granted were forced to adapt to lockdown restrictions which caused a separation for many, including roommates Naomi and Sarah within the film. The film adopts a humorous approach to life within such restrictive parameters as Sarah moves out to her family’s Florida home. As such, the film shines a light on that opportunity to analyse the relationships in our lives, present and future, once we are made to slow down.

However, As of Yet is not a pandemic related film and is presented from Naomi’s point of view. Yes, the events occur during the covid-19 crisis, but this was not an intentional theme for writer Taylor Garron, who impressively co-directs and stars Naomi in the film. The focus for Garron is firmly on the nature of these, sometimes fickle, relationships and the intricacies and pressures placed upon them when the dynamics uncontrollably change. Some relationships thrive during a stressful moment, and others disintegrate, and it is this aspect at the fore of As of Yet. The spotlight on the friendship dynamics is a fresh approach in this genre examined through the screen life technique, with Face Time, social media and those initially exciting Apero Zoom drinks sessions with friends during quarantine.

The film employs this technique charmingly to unveil its storyline and the ennui suffered by its characters. We see the authenticity of Naomi’s loneliness as she lies on a sofa after dressing up in those never worn outfits, dances, and makes videos about her feelings and anxiety. Cleverly, these online diaries operate on a dual nature for both Naomi’s audiences and ourselves. So many people will have turned to online dating in a bid for a connection; however, as Naomi finds, an online chat is only satisfying short term. Naomi’s dilemma is acutely presented as she also has her needy roommate’s woes to contend with through their messages. Their interaction also highlights some unconscious biases, to Garron’s credit, that may ordinarily remain buried under the surface or ignored, following the world’s attention on the police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement during the summer of 2020.

As of Yet may be too on the nose for some as we reminisce about that thrill of something new but mundane entering our lives. The frisson felt by Naomi when permitted to go on socially distanced walks and that opportunity to meet someone new is therefore instantly identifiable in a strong performance by Garron.

It is this emotional relatability that makes As of Yet excel. Garron has created a recognisable narrative as we may, similar to Natalie, have re-examined our life priorities. The film also creates those moments of reflection. We also relate to the various ‘soft’ lies that we may tell ourselves and others within our lives to avoid ruptures within established relationships, platonic and romantic. As of Yet emphasises that it may be necessary, as in Naomi’s case, to move on from seemingly negative relationships. Naomi’s mum tells her that, ‘just because you live with someone, it doesn’t mean that you have to like them,’ which may be a familiar scenario for many.

As of Yet may be dialogue-heavy but its willingness to confront the social and political issues subtly within the confines of friendship and isolation allows the film to be more than just another ‘pandemic’ film. It is a compellingly constructed first feature for Garron, highlighting the importance of being comfortable with ourselves and asserting our boundaries within friendships.

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