The strangely malcontent president of a fraternity becomes obsessed with a coed that wanders into their party. At first their courtship seem promising, pointing to a change of character, but it twists into sinister pursuit as she stays out of reach. More and more is revealed about the nature of these men as the plot grows to a disturbing conclusion.
March 5, 2016
Sharad Kant Patel, Sebastian Mathews
Sharad Kant Patel
Jessa Settle as Sarah
Paul Galvan as Christian
A microfilm with very serious potential, Somebody’s Darling unfortunately comes up short on the technical front, forcing viewers to cast aside hope for a rare remarkable find. There are a number of qualities to the film, but what seems to be a lack of refinement on the part of writer/director Sharad Kant Patel just holds things back a bit. There are lighting issues. There are post production filter problems. Transitional and pacing issues also damage the film. But through all the layers of fault we can still see the potential that looms.
The story – another problem, really – is about a young college student, Sarah (Jessa Settle), who does a little bit too much flirting with the arrogant frat boy, Christian (Paul Galvan). They meet at a frat party, and although he initially sends a signal that he’s far too cool to be seen conversing with her, he eventually does put some moves on Sarah. And Sarah seems to dig the chemistry, until Christian leans in and plants a kiss on her lips. That turns her off, and she splits after letting him know that she realizes he does this with all the girls: put a few slick sentences together, apply the sultry look, bed them down. Well, it isn’t happening with Sarah.
And we think that’s that. We’re going to move on to the true conflict of the story – which we do – however, it comes across as being mishandled. Not long after that first meeting these two again get together. They talk, he plays it a bit cooler than the he did during their first meeting, and before we know it these two are talking on a regular basis. Christian seems to be genuinely into the girl, and she seems to reciprocate. Until, quite randomly and without much warning, she doesn’t. Suddenly her study partner (who is clearly introduced as nothing more than a study partner, and whom we never see have any sort of physical relation with Sarah whatsoever) is her boyfriend, and she doesn’t want to have anything to do with Christian. But by this point Christian is obsessed, to the point that he’s becoming physically ill. It’s hard to blame the guy, you want to talk about sending mixed signals? Sarah’s signals could not possibly be any more mixed.
This girl didn’t have a boyfriend. Where the hell did that come from? This girl was most certainly into Christian. When did that fly out the window? Why’s she been willing to spend time with Christian if she’s had a lover boy the whole time? These things make absolutely no sense. They simply do not fit in the plot – they directly conflict with the plot, in fact. And, as for that plot, you know there’s a big finale in waiting. Sadly, that finale doesn’t arrive until the final four or five minutes of the film. We’re literally following this story, waiting for the definitive reveal and grand climax, and when it does come, it lasts for such a ridiculously short period of time that a simple bladder break will absolutely guarantee you miss it.
That’s just not how you handle a story. You nurture it until you can give the viewers that grandiose conclusion they crave. After completely botching the cohesiveness of the story through muddled relationship details, Sharad Kant Patel slaps us in the face with what feels more like a teaser than a finale. You could actually fit the finale comfortably into a teaser trailer time frame. And it’s too bad, because there’s also some special effects promise in the final shots. But, that strength also goes neglected.
That’s damaging stuff right there. It leaves us feeling as though we took the time to invest in the characters for absolutely no reason. None whatsoever. As the picture plays out we recognize that there’s something “different” about Christian, and it’s relatively easy to guess what the dude’s problem is (we’re not going to spoil it), but that doesn’t warrant an insult, which is what the “conclusion” most certainly feels like.
The kicker to the whole ordeal is that we really do start to care about Sarah and Christian. Sure they’re shallow kids dressed in poetic clothing, but, we spend so much time following their story that we begin to hope there’s a passionate connection eventually realized between the two. Although that doesn’t happen, it doesn’t do much to negate the fact that both Settle and Galvan really deliver on their end of the bargain. These two may be essential noobies to the business, but I’ll be damned if they don’t really put forth effort. Since this film is character driven, it’s great to see that Patel has nailed the casting. There’s clearly no budget to speak of here, so we know we’re not going to see any true seasoned veterans attached, so the next best thing is the employment of young unknowns who could conceivably evolve into impressive, seasoned veterans someday down the line.
Sharad Kant Patel has some prospective promise, no doubt about it. But there’s still some technical refinement to work out. As for Jessa Settle and Paul Galvan, I’ve got real hope for these two. The film industry is an absolute shark tank, but with a few big opportunities these two could very well prove themselves capable of swimming with the big beasts. In the end, the film can be summed up in somewhat simple fashion: Somebody’s Darling is a potentially beautiful quilt with just a few too many patches missing.