Overview: Eugene and Kate, ex-lovers who live on separate coasts of the US, spend a weekend together when Kate comes to LA to settle some business and promote her fashion line. Over the course of the weekend, they share some strange experiences while Eugene makes awkward attempts to reconnect with Kate. Dirty Pictures/BTW Productions; 2015; Not Rated; 81 minutes.
For Millennials?: If this film has one thing, it’s a clear target audience: early twenty-somethings who live in New York or LA and like to masturbate (literally and figuratively). It attempts to capture the experience of life as seen through a smartphone and the aimlessness and boredom of young people trying to find a place in an already crowded world. Unfortunately, the main characters are so devoid of charm or depth that their quirks are repulsive and their interactions meaningless, and where the viewer ought to feel sympathy, they instead feel disgust. If the goal of the film was to make the point that these twenty-somethings are, in fact, boring, shallow, and crass, then that goal was accomplished. If the goal was to create a film that captured some of the feeling of being a millennial, then this fell short–or millennials are worse than we all thought.
Specifically: Eugene and Kate spend the duration of Kate’s visit meeting other un-showered twenty-somethings in a series of misadventures that are more boring and strange than zany. Perhaps that’s true to real life, but it isn’t that entertaining to watch. They go to a party wearing odd outfits, meet other young people with similarly pointless occupations, have an uncomfortable moment in Eugene’s beat up car, and then argue about where to sleep. Peppered throughout is the mention of “paperwork,” which might pique the viewer’s interest if they cared at all about the characters. They spend a while looking for a place to print a document, Kate licks Eugene’s armpit on a dare, Eugene’s girlfriend puts poop in his shoes… Add to this several scenes of masturbation that do nothing to advance the plot or flesh out a character, and some detailed narration from Eugene while he’s on the toilet (and insisting on keeping the door open so he can talk to Kate), and you’ve got a film that drags a bit as it makes you uncomfortable.
A Moment of Transcendence: Near the end of the film, Eugene and Kate have a moment that could make the viewer believe that their relationship once had substance, however. Where there was no energy between them before, there is suddenly tension–they wrestle in the street, screaming “I f&$king hate you!” at each other, before the camera cuts away. At last, the characters are relatable. Then the camera cuts back, and they are caressing each other, and once again you have to wonder what each sees in the other.
Perhaps It’s Just Too Real: The characters are shallow and boring, the plot is slow and a little strange, a lot of time is spent figuring out how to print something and what to do that night, everyone looks like they could do with a shower…maybe this film, in trying to capture reality, didn’t fail but instead did too well. After all, it perfectly portrays the experience of disappointed expectations. Haven’t we all spent a weekend (for which we had high hopes) debating what to do next, meeting our friend’s strange neighbors in an unfamiliar city, sleeping in questionable beds, and trying to find a place to print something, all while wishing we were having an amazing and film-worthy time with someone we find attractive? Aren’t we all a little boring, a little gross, and a little self-involved? Not only does A Wonderful Cloud capture those parts of early adulthood, it also causes the viewer to relive them.
But There’s Still Something Missing: In the end, A Wonderful Cloud is just not that enjoyable. The writing is fine, the acting is good, but the reward for sticking with Kate and Eugene for the whole weekend isn’t there. It seems as though director Eugene Kotlyarenko, in trying to make Eugene and Kate seem real, went too far and simply made them distasteful, so that the viewer reaches the end of the film with nothing to take away from it.
Overall: A few young people might find moments to identify with in this film, but for the rest of us there’s not much in it to care about, so why watch it at all?