Sparrows Dance (2013)


(Originally published in Village Voice)

Great news, ladies: If you want to find the perfect man, never leave your apartment and he’ll just show up at your door! At least, that’s what happens to the unnamed Woman in Sparrows Dance. When a plumbing emergency strikes our heroine’s cozy, self-imposed prison of an apartment, which she hasn’t left in a year and doesn’t even allow the Chinese food delivery guy to step inside, friendly plumber Wes arrives to save the day. Turns out he’s also jazz saxophonist who couldn’t care less that the Woman suffers from crippling anxiety that may prevent her from ever having a meaningful relationship. There’s something real between them, and he’s determined to get her outside for his next gig. Sparrows Dance requires an open mind. The first 15 minutes are meandering and mundane enough to test the patience of even the most generous viewers; there are about three too many scenes depicting the Woman sitting on the toilet; and a few sequences feel overly stylized, considering the hyper-realism of the majority of the film. But something special is hidden here. Wes charms with his innocent enthusiasm and lightly goofy quips. Many scenes play out in luxuriously long takes, allowing real chemistry between the Woman and Wes to develop. Our sincere hope that the Woman will gather the courage to not lose Wes could come from a touch of claustrophobia after spending the entire film in her apartment, but it could also come from Sparrows Dance‘s deft construction of a genuine romance between two refreshingly authentic people.

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