Program 09: BenjaminDirected by Simon Amstell
Comedian Simon Amstell (Never Mind the Buzzcocks) writes and directs this charming love story about a young British filmmaker agonizing over the impending premiere of his latest feature.
The new movie has been a long time coming for Benjamin (Colin Morgan, The Happy Prince and BBC’s Merlin). Desperate to escape the sophomore slump after his award-winning debut turned him into a rising star of the indie film world, he’s been spinning his wheels for years trying to produce a follow-up. Now that he’s in the final stages of ushering the film across the finish line, he can’t stop himself from tinkering and second-guessing every single creative decision he’s made.
While Benjamin’s struggling professionally, things start to look up for him romantically when he meets adorable and talented French music student Noah (Phénix Brossard from ImageOut 2016’s Departure). As he and Noah hit it off, it seems things may finally be turning around for the neurotic filmmaker – if he can only just get out of his own way.
Benjamin’s journey toward self-fulfillment is endearing, maddening, and completely relatable. The anxiety of being a working artist is the source of some cringe-inducing comedy, never more than in a darkly funny subplot involving Benjamin’s pal Steve (Joel Fry) and his struggles as an aspiring standup comedian.
With appealing performances and a witty screenplay, Benjamin is a deadpan showbiz satire and a poignant love story, about the hard work of discovering one’s artistic voice, and the even more difficult process of then deciding what you want to say with it.
~ Adam Lubitow
Awards & Accolades
- Audience Award, Best Narrative Feature – Milan Int’l Lesbian & Gay Film Festival
- Official Selection – BFI London Film Festival
- Official Selection – Frameline SF Int’l LGBTQ+ Film Festival