Overview: Four perspectives of friends at differing points in their relationships; eOne Entertainment; 2014; Not Rated; 82 minutes.
Claims and Delivery: According to the product description via Amazon, X/Y’s story is as follows:
A group of friends living in NY are caught in between “generation X and Y,” struggling to forge and sustain relationships amid the dual hurdles created by modern technology and societal conventions.
X/Y does not revolve around modern technology, nor do the characters centrally utilize social media vehicles as a collective means to maintain relationships. The tagline “The heart wants, the flesh takes” is merely indicative of the bare minimum physical needs, and skims the complexities of real, modern relationships. The promotional focus of the film is misleading. The film turns out to be slow-moving with a few hidden pools of depth.
Sylvia, Jen, Mark, and Jake: Sylvia (America Ferrera) and Jen (Melonie Diaz) are the two female leads featured in this film. I applaud Ryan Piers Williams, who is also the director, for leveraging the talents of Ferrera and Diaz. An American film with two leading ladies of color is rare. Ferrera is fierce in both her sexual and business affairs. She is representative of today’s modern woman (which is also apparent in her work off-screen). The appeal of Diaz’s character comes in her eventual confession to herself of what she truly is and her willingness to expose herself to any ridicule or judgement from the men in her life. Her sassiness and external confidence come full circle here. She is another accurate example of today’s woman, fully flawed yet an advocate of her own progress.
Mark is the inner artist; the one who struggles to meet the demand of societal needs/wants by sacrificing thoughts and ideas that we all recognize as our own. He is the inner conversation taking place in our heads, but cannot form on our lips. Mark is content in his confusion. He is all these moving parts and in many places at once and doing a multitude of activities. Mark shows how self-fulfilment does not need to be steady and predictable, but can flourish in chaos and randomness like paint splattered on a canvas. Rapper/Actor Common makes an appearance as Jason, Sylvia’s colleague with whom she has had an affair. The most memorable scene is not pivotal or earth-shattering, but rather a scene of acceptance. Sylvia and Jason are about to engage in one of their many flings in a bar bathroom. Sylvia wants to stop. Jason accepts with no bitterness. That’s it. This scene communicates two important elements: A woman has every right to say no without a reason and a man is not entitled to sex.
Final Thoughts: The soundtrack relies heavily on bass and synthetics, painting the film in a negative manner, and X/Y lays out the messiness of relationships without sugar-coated happiness.