In order to appreciate the value of indie cinema, you must first recognize and be able to observe the world you’re positioned in. Many people will say that out of pity, you won’t be honest about what works and what doesn’t in this very specific cinematic world. In my case, I believe everything’s an opportunity, and from opportunities there’s nothing to do but learn. If The Green Oak Guardian had been a great film, I would surely have highlighted something to improve. There’s always a chance to make something better.
But the problem with this very small indie film, is that you can’t help but feel that it could have been much better if the approach had been much more simple. A nice romantic film, one with a plot that feels organic up to a point, has no need to play around much when portraying the chemistry between two characters. In the film there lie questions about the plot and how things take place. There are far too many, and you won’t be able to shake off the feeling that The Green Oak Guardian is unnecessarily complex and ultimately feels unnatural as a dramatic story that turns into a romantic one.
The film tells the story of a comic book writer who’s very successful. The problem is no one knows who she is. When the opportunity comes to adapt one of the stories to the big screen, the potential star to perform in the film decides to go to the town where the writer lives and… research? At first, it feels like an awkward plot about a big fish in a small town, but then it turns into a lovely story about two souls meeting and finding true love when life demands it so.
The film goes back and forth in defining what’s the center of the plot. There’s a reason why the writer can’t reveal she’s behind such great work, and this is supposed to add some gravitas to the plot, but instead it feels like an unnecessary element that doesn’t help the relationship and only makes Grayson Kane’s presence a bit more life-changing for him.
Abi Van Andel does a good job in the film. Houston Rhines really doesn’t. They never feel connected, and it’s because there’s no chemistry between them and the third act, when everything’s supposed to be solved, the script calls for some additions that bring nothing to the table.
This time the fairy tale didn’t work for me. But perhaps, it will for others. The film’s very well shot and this could appeal some people who don’t seek depth in a plot that feels like a lightweight version of something that could have definitely been much better.