Mary Rose Cook's notebook

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The Puffy Chair

This film comes from the same scene as Humpday and Your Sister’s Sister by Lynn Shelton. Mark Duplass, the co-writer and co-director of The Puffy Chair, stars in all three films. All three have the same aim: naturalistic portrayal of the subtleties of relationships.

I have been thinking a lot about the differences between the films. I can’t identify any. They are all shot the same way. There is an improvised, messy tone that is common to all the dialogue. They all have crucial, contrived elements that should derail the films completely (the brother in The Puffy Chair is a caricature, Humpday corners the two guys and makes them agree to have sex, Your Sister’s Sister herds three people into a remote cabin).

The thing is: Humpday and Your Sister’s Sister are marvellously truthy and moving and meaningful, and The Puffy Chair is not. I don’t know why.