Fort Tilden, a new film by rising directors/writers Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers, just won the grand jury prize at the SXSW film festival in Austin.
Allie (Clare McNulty) and Harper (Bridey Elliott) are my next door neighbors back home in Brooklyn... or they could be. Like a good post-Seinfeld New Yorker, I don't actually know my neighbors very well. The truth is, the writers/directors of this film should be commended for their tongue-in-cheek accuracy depicting the romper-clad masses relocating in droves to Williamsburg. In other reviews, Fort Tilden, has been likened to Lena Dunham's, Girls, as it joins the upsurge of the many Brooklyn coming-of-age tales we have seen. However, Bliss and Rogers take their film to a whole new level with its absurdist humor, so we're going to say that if Girls and Broad City had a roll in the hay, Fort Tilden, would be their love child.
At the moment, countless young Brooklynites are gleefully making mistakes similar to the ones Harper and Allie fall into as they attempt to juice the last bit of fun out of NYC's fiery summer by joining two guys they meet at a party for a day on the beach at Fort Tilden. The women's comic irresponsibility hits again and again as they unsuccessfully navigate through a series of distractions on the way to their seaside destination. Bliss and Rogers are smart enough to up the ante and write in a few bigger missteps (not so many young Brooklynites would leave kittens in a trashcan) and enough unexpected situations to hold the audience's interest. In one scene, after paying $200 for a distressed wooden barrel, dragging it home only to discover a potential bedbug infestation, and abandoning it in their apartment stairwell, the girls watch their bikes get stolen and do nothing to stop it. These cringeworthy moments remind us of all the times responsibility seemed to slip our minds. Though these instances are on the more absurd side, McNulty and Elliott play their charters with a subtlety that keeps them from being completely unlikeable. In fact, the constant complaining and frustration makes their situation more relatable. Fort Tilden is a quality contribution to the newly-forged "Coming-of-Age-at-26" genre, and a solid first film for Bliss and Rogers. It is well-shot and edited with lots of good, guilty laughs.