The Boy Downstairs
14th October 2017 6.15pm at Picturehouse Central
15th October 2017 8.45pm at Curzon Soho
New York City is an ideal backdrop for romcoms, from Woody Allen to Sex and the City. With its high energy and particular charms it doesn’t have the romance of Paris, but it has vivacity, the feeling that anything’s possible. Sophie Brooks’s The Boy Downstairs exudes that New York state of mind with a story of ambitious creatives who are typically rather more interested in making their mark than they are in pursuing relationships.
A decent script provides for a classic boy meets girl, boy loses girl, maybe boy gets girl back narrative. Diana (Zosia Mamet) is an aspiring writer who has broken up with her boyfriend Ben (Matthew Shear) after leaving for Europe, and is back in the city looking for an apartment – which as any New Yorker knows, is a gauntlet. Diana’s eccentric hapless best friend, Gabby (Diana Irvine) refers her to a broker, Meg (Sarah Ramos), a chilly, waspy type.
Diana has a lucky break and lands the ideal place in Fort Greene after befriending the affable building owner and former actress, Amy (Deirdre O’Connell). She settles in with that exhilarating feeling of freedom and anticipation that is especially unique to New York, only to discover that her ex, Ben, is living downstairs. As romantic fictional fate would have it, Ben is dating Meg, the uptight real estate broker who showed Diana her apartment. Confused and upset by Diana’s new living arrangement and proximity, having been devastated by their breakup, he doesn’t know whether to ignore her or converse with her, or even possibly try to revive their relationship.
Mamet’s Diana is endearing, engaging and funny and she gives a solid performance. Shear is great as the charming Ben. Together the two are very cute, although their chemistry is somewhat tame. O’Connell is also terrific, and all the actors are very competent. Despite slightly clichéd ideas and plot lines, the writing is commendable, with witty and entertaining dialogue and the film is refreshingly upbeat and good-natured. A sweet, fun romantic comedy, The Boy Downstairs is charismatic and uplifting.
The Boy Downstairs does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2017 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.