Pianist Monty Fagan wants to open a piano bar but lacks the start-up cash until he meets a rich older woman. After the two establish a sex-for-pay arrangement, it unexpectedly evolves into a romance -- but turns the rest of Monty's life upside down.

Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”

Maybe I'm just a sucker for stories about dreamers set in Los Angeles, but I enjoyed this little drama (which is not a comedy, Netflix!) about a boy being hardened into a man by the pursuit of his dream. It could be because so many other movies like this, such as Whiplash, ratchet up the intensity until it's way over the top; this one is more gentle and pitched at the level of real life, with the exception of Jason Schwartzman's douchebro bank officer, who comes from a more satirical L.A. movie. The ending was a little off (I didn't buy certain characters feeling regret), and the symbolism was a little too overt (a puppy in a cage? a bar called Dreamland?), but on the whole, I really appreciated this. Judging from his debut film, writer-director Robert Schwartzman has more good work ahead of him, and plenty of famous relatives and family friends to star in those future productions too.

− February 9, 2017 • more by Scottlog in or create an account to reply

Scott Hardie: If I had seen this in time, I would have ranked it higher than the other six movies on my best-of-2016 ballot. − February 9, 2017 • more by Scott

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