A Year and Change (2015)




Bryan Greenberg, Claire van der Boom, T.R. Knight, Marshall Allman, Jamie Chung, Jamie Hector, Kat Foster, Natasha Rothwell, Drew Shugart, Kate Sanford, Woody Schultz, Dan Thiel, Cruz Kim, Alison Whitney, Laurie Folkes, Cassidy Thornton, Gene Ferrick


After drunkenly falling off the roof at a New Year's house party, Owen (Bryan Greenberg) decides that it's time to make some wholesale changes in his life. Over the next year, he re-enters his estranged son's life, reignites old friendships, quits drinking, and falls in love with Vera (Claire van der Boom), a bank teller and fellow divorcee…all in an attempt to surround himself with a family - subconsciously replacing the one he'd lost prematurely. Owen, a vending machine proprietor, soon finds that sometimes in life, you just need a little change.


The short version of this review? I loved A Year and Change. A real pleasure to watch, and I'm glad I had the chance to be one of the first - of many, I hope - to see it.

Extremely well paced, beautiful and uplifting, A Year and Change is a brilliant dramedy about real people that gracefully alternates drama and laughs while dealing with real life problems.

Debut feature of director and writer Stephen Suettinger, the film follows up a year of Owen's life, and witnesses his maturity. The Owen we met at the beginning is a guy that gets wasted every weekend with his "friends" like a teenager would do, has commitment issues and a life nobody would envy. He eventually realises that his friends are not real, that he has to put his act together and start living. And it is sublime to see his life come to life, and getting better every day, like in real life.

One of the things I appreciated the most are the characters: relatable and feeling real, they all are well developed, and they are not just plot elements.

I am not a fan of voiceovers, but I did really appreciate it in this film because it allows you to get into Owen's head, and even though most of the things that come out of there are just ordinary thoughts, they feel essential. Then, from time to time, there are some deep lines addressed to Jen, that will stick with you.

As if all of that wasn't enough, the film can claim a beautiful musical score by Jeff Toyne, that fits perfectly. It does enhance the feelings delivered by the story and blends with the other sounds surrounding.

Worth of a mention are the slow motion sequences. Whether capturing ice stalactites defrosting, dandelion blowing in the wind or wood being cut, those shots are of indescribable beauty.

Last but not least the acting. Mostly made up of unknown television actors - I only knew Bryan Greenberg and Jamie Chung -, the cast does a great job, and the lack of A-List actors allows each to stand out. Bryan Greenberg and Claire van der Boom have a great chemistry and both deliver outstanding performances. Not least is the supporting cast, among which, and now I'm going to contradict myself, T.R. Knight as Uncle Kenny stands out.

I'd highly recommend A Year and Change to anyone who likes great dramas.


Owen: Dear Jen, isn't it strange that sometimes you can surround yourself with a whole crowd of people, yet still feel alone?

Owen: You shouldn't let the fear of the unknown to stop you from trying something new.

Owen: There's people in this world who are just really unhappy. It's like they, they have so much pain inside of them that they don't think they'll ever be happy again. And so they make themselves believe that the only way to end the hurt is to live this life. And I think uncle Kenny was one of those people. Unfortunately, there's nothing that anyone could have said or done to take away his pain.