Director: Isabel del Rosal
Cast: Devin Dunne Cannon, Bridget Barkan
There’s arguably little room for them in the typical cinematic area, but there’s certainly a place for a Hallmark-style movie. Harmless and wholesome in output, the intentions behind a whimsical film often remain as surface-level as audience entertainment. With a self-identifying queer narrative, Walk With Me perhaps has more of a social responsibility to its existence. Though its narrative structure remains realistic and highlights fleeting moments of intensive passion, the film fails to deviate from tired and stereotypical traditions steeped in the LGBT+ genre.
After leaving her husband, Amber (Devin Dunne Cannon) works to find her feet as a single mother. While looking for a new place to live, she meets realtor Logan (Bridget Barkan), who is also an up-and-coming singer. While the pair instantly have an intense connection, the differences between their livelihoods threaten to get in the way of a blossoming romance.
If there was ever a film to personify the 2014 soft-girl era of Tumblr, it’s Walk With Me. Stacked with aesthetic motifs and Rupi Kaur poetry, there’s a pleasant sense of familiarity for those whose time inside the closet has long passed. With an extensive focus on unnecessary and prolonged details, the film tells a tale as old as time, making sure it hits the beats of obvious structure along the way. There’s no doubting that the classic story of ‘straight woman leaves her husband and falls for a woman’ has its place on screen, yet the formulaic nature of narrow representation borders on tiring.
Even though its manufactured romanticism is spotted a mile away, there’s enough lure to get sucked into the ‘will they won’t they’ throes of passion. Tender moments are beautifully exchanged, the directorial choice to stop physical intimacy before it becomes explicit is a refreshing perception. Naked and slightly afraid, each woman is wholly embraced for exactly who she is—emotional baggage included. Logan particularly emulates effortless queer girl hotness, her good looks and acoustic guitar talents making her ripe for a poster-girl crush. In the grander scope of sapphic filmmaking, this sense of harmless intimacy cannot go unappreciated.
Despite its moments of jovial euphoria, Walk With Me is a saddening reminder of what could have been. Instead of choosing to challenge sapphic film stereotypes, director Isabel del Rosal walks right into them. There’s the classic case of a woman overwhelmed with feelings she’s scared of, a clichéd plane journey and a maternal plotline that seems to only consciously add a last-minute dimension to the romantic love interest. Every word is one that’s expected—their text changes a tried and tested decision and disingenuous arguments that are resolved too quickly. The background context of the protagonists’ livelihood can feel like boring fodder, with an overtly sharp end to a film that is overwhelmingly long.
As wholesome and trouble-free as Walk With Me appears, its existence isn’t without its issues. Giving hope for real life sapphic meet-cutes and providing a new hot-girl crush that the community thrives on, the film misses a chance to become something cinematically different. While the characters each try to step into their own life, the narrative sidesteps any real meaningful impact.
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