EIFF: Lovely By Surprise review

Surprises are great, aren't they? As long as they're not bad surprises, anyway. Er. So, yeah, Carl went to see Lovely By Surprise at the Edinburgh Film Festival...

In light of its title, it is a lovely movie that I am expecting, and by surprise? I’m not telling you in the intro!

First off, this feels like quite a strange movie, and by all rights, it is. The characters aren’t quirky as such, but they do have their quirks. Take Bob (Reg Rogers) for instance, a car salesman who favours telling people to go home and spend the money and time on their families, rather than on a new car, or Marian (Carrie Preston), the writer who writes books with no plot or point but feels that they are hugely important. What, even then, is stranger, is the fact that the authors book is acted out on screen. To say any more of the plot at this point may spoil the pure joy and surprise of the impending weirdness and fun.

In essence, Lovely By Surprise is a great movie. Unusual characters and greatly intresting plot points lead it to its hugely satisfying ending. One thing about those points is that one never seems to intertwine with the others. Though, it does becomes clear at the end why, and with potent and huge effect, making its flow in the movie much greater. All of this may seem like gibberish now, but if you were to watch this superb little indie flick, all would become crystal.

The direction seems hugely influenced by Wes Anderson, to the extent that Wes himself is the only person who could have done a better job. In addition, the music fits the tone of the scenes greatly, and only brings more of a warm-hearted feel to the movie. When you put these together with the purely fantastic plot and characters, you have one of the most unmissable indie movies of the year.

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In every measure, Lovely By Surprise is a fantastic movie, which fills every moment with brilliant writing, superb direction, and wonderfully weird characters. In all manner of speaking, if I was told the plot to this movie, I would think it would be silly and meaningless, but to make the most of the most obvious quote ever to end a movie review, this movie is definitely, lovely by surprise.


4 out of 5