Stone Fruit ***
Starring: Matt Palazzolo, Rob Warner, Thomas Hobson
Director: Brandon Krajewski
Manny (Palazzolo) and Russ (Warner) have been married for years, but are now on the brink of divorce. Taking one final trip together with the divorce papers seemingly signed and sealed, they head to Californian wine country, where they bicker and lay their differences bare before, during and after being joined by their friend Byron (Hobson), who had no idea that they are separating.
Covering much of the same territory as films like Marriage Story or Blue Valentine, this is a rumination on the failings of their relationship, where the two have just drifted apart over the years. They still enjoy each other’s company and clearly love each other, but they know that their continuing relationship is toxic. So is there a spark still alive during this final trip? Well, with the trip geared entirely toward Russ’ interests and lacking anything that Manny would enjoy, so it’s clear from the outset that their prospects are slim.
This is a very dialogue-heavy film, with pretty people talking about their feelings in vineyards, like an Instagram-friendly Sideways. Unfortunately this is very much the product of millennial naval-gazing, where stories like this seem wildly significant to a writer who clearly has little life experience. Back when kitchen-sink drama was invented it was the product of the class divide, but does it still work seventy years later with affluent, muscle-bound gay men? The answer, unfortunately, is no. The end-product is a distinctly average film that does manage to get the wind in its sails, but feels smug and self-important in the process.
UK Release: Out now to watch On Demand on Dekkoo and to buy on DVD, released by TLA Releasing.