Director: Joe Swanberg
Runtime: 72 minutes
TV Rating: TVMA
“Smart, playful and inquisitive, Alexander the Last is the latest from Joe Swanberg, a prolific and challenging filmmaker who is developing a body of work that is both fascinating and inspiring.
Alex (Jess Weixler) and Elliot (Justin Rice) are an artistic young married couple. She’s an aspiring actor, while he is a musician. While Elliot is away touring, Alex rehearses a play in which she shares scenes of a romantic nature with the handsome Jamie (Barlow Jacobs). Alex begins to spend time with Jamie, usually with her sister Helen (Amy Seimetz) in tow, which helps to prevent Alex acting on the crush she has developed on Jamie. She struggles with her emotions and her conscience, while getting very close to Jamie on stage. Following Hannah Takes the Stairs (2007) and Nights and Weekends (2008), Joe Swanberg returns with his third film to play the Festival in as many years. Anyone familiar with his previous work will not be surprised to find Alexander the Last is an emotionally honest, partly improvised study of relationships and the awkwardness of intimacy, though the fact he’s working with Noah Baumbach, who gets a producer’s credit here, and has cast actors who aren’t from his usual pool of sympathetic friends and collaborators, are indicators that there have been intriguing developments in the way Swanberg works. Smart, playful and inquisitive, Alexander the Last is the latest from a prolific and challenging filmmaker who is developing a body of work that is both fascinating and inspiring.