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Falling into Place Review: Sweet, Modest Romance

two characters lean close to each other in bed in the film Falling Into Place

Aylin Tezel writes, directs and stars in Falling Into Place, a sweet if modest romance that speaks on the closure required before love can thrive.

To direct a good film takes gargantuan effort. To write it and also be the lead actor in it adds insurmountable pressure onto a director’s shoulders. In her sweet film Falling Into Place, which deals with how we approach our relationships and the steps taken to ensure we’re ready to move on, Aylin Tezel attempts this feat as her debut directorial effort, to strong results.

On the Scottish Isle of Skye, German artist Kira (Aylin Tezel) is on a path of self destruction. She’s in the midst of a painful break up with Aidan (Rory Fleck Byrne) and finds herself drunk in a pub. As her night comes to a close, she enters the drunken orbit of fellow self-destructor Ian (Chris Fulton), who is doing his level best to ignore that he has a girlfriend back home in London. The couple spend a night of dancing and playing imaginary games together, finding themselves able to ignore their problems while in each other’s company. They don’t sleep together because, to Kira, having the hands of Ian over her would be the wrong hands. Though to Ian, his attempts to sleep with Kira would help disguise his own insecurities in his relationship. 

The 24 hours that they spend together have the feeling of a therapy session, as their banterous back and forths and impromptu karaoke session help to slowly strip away their shields that prevent them from being attached. This is especially so when Kira witnesses first hand a vulnerable side to Ian that he pretends doesn’t exist.

As with all in the world, good things must come to an end and the two flit away from each other, no numbers exchanged and their life forever impacted by the other. In a slightly contrived fashion, the two both live in London, the boiling pot of internationalities and experiences, and their eventual reunion underpins the emotional temperature, their influence on one another bleeding into their individual lives. For Kira, it’s in her artwork; for Ian, it’s the intermittent reflections and memories that occur as his relationship implodes. 

two characters laugh lying in the grass in the film Falling Into Place
Falling Into Place (Glasgow Film Festival)

The film is split, almost directly, into two halves. The first half chronicles their day together, with the second covering the ramifications of that meeting when they return home to London. At nearly two hours, Falling Into Place is never tiresome but the refinement of the romantic pining does begin to wane. Their eventual reunion, which the film plays as serendipitous but destined, takes too long to occur. The chemistry between Kira and Ian is electric and the connection they have is the vital component of the romance but you spend so long with them apart that you become conjoined with the characters and their troubles. 

They never think they’re going to see the other again, but the audience is all too aware that this sort of film would never keep them apart, so that time is spent waiting, the seconds flittering down until that eventual reunion. For what it’s worth – a reunion that ever so slightly cheapens the characters growth through this segment. Not doing the heartwrenching, saccharine reunion might have lent this a bit more edge but the emotions still run high, and it doesn’t seem Tezel wants to tell that sort of story. 

For a debut film, it is an extraordinary feat to take control of three central positions in filmmaking. Tezel’s direction is accomplished and confident with her writing spirited and emotionally sharp and heartfelt. Her especially ravishing dynamic with Fulton’s Ian feels like it has enough power to light up the dimmest of lives. A hopeful film about the necessity of closure and one that finds beauty in the sadness of its characters, in the luscious landscape of Scotland, in the frenzy of London, and in how fate intervenes and intertwines around our relationships.

Falling into Place was screened at the 2024 Glasgow Film Festival. Read our Glasgow Film Festival reviews and our list of films to watch at the 2024 Glasgow Film Festival!

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