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Re: Uniting review: Modern spin on familiar scenario

A man and a woman are in bed, smiling, in the 2024 film Re: Uniting

Re: Uniting approaches its familiar subject matter with a distinctly modern twist, using compelling characters and their conversations to drive the story.

Director: Laura Adkin
Genre: Drama
Run Time: 100′
US Release: May 31, 2024
UK Release: TBA
Where to watch: in theaters

Re: Uniting is the feature film directing debut of Canadian actress turned director Laura Adkin. The film tells a wholesome, familiar tale of reuniting with old friends, observing the passage of time, and also provides a sad reminder of how temporary these feelings and interactions are. It is a film for the nostalgic among us and recaptures the memories and feelings of days gone by in a way most of its audience will understand.

This is a movie for anyone who has lived these experiences, with many young adults starting to live them right now, and helps viewers cope with them.

The story follows six middle-aged characters all making arrangements to reunite for their twenty-five year college reunion. They each have their own paths in life and endured the typical trials of adulthood and varying career paths. Rachel (Michelle Harrison) is the host of the event, and calls friends Danny (David Lewis), Collin (Roger Cross), Carrie (Bronwen Smith), Natalie (Carmen Moore), and her husband Michael (Jesse L. Martin) to a small beach house to reconnect. They all have personal demons, challenges with their careers, and stories to tell about their relationships. It is ultimately the performances of these six friends which hold the tale together and show depth and detail in their relationships.

The opening scenes, showing these characters interact via on screen text messages, make for the most unique directorial touch in the movie. It is a wholesome, inviting hook that entices viewers in for a fun adventure. Their backstories are told through conversations and implication rather than flashbacks, which helps the plot to progress. Those humorous moments are later offset by serious character drama, including unresolved romance and family tensions, which cloud the judgment of these characters. Many of them come as surprises and change what the story seems to be building up to, taking it in a new direction. The emotional beat with the main character of Rachel is somewhat depressing and can serve as a jarring swerve in an overall lighthearted film, but it is impactful to the characters and the way it is handled makes for a natural progression.

A man and a woman look at a phone screen, the latter sitting on a sofa, in the 2024 film Re: Uniting
Re: Uniting (Vortex Media)

Some parts of Re: Uniting are funny, some are sad. The story is able to balance both in appropriate fashion. Where Adkin falls flat as a director, however, is in having the character relationships not feel complete. So much time is spent on these people flying from conversation to conversation, discussing with each other what their lives meant, but they all blur together after a while. The dialogue is strong, but the moments for contemplation and emotion are often rushed. This can reduce some of the more serious moments, no matter how well directed they are. Since Adkin is a first-time director, this can be given some leniency.

Re: Uniting does not break any barriers or pursue grander statements, but it does not need to, given its subject matter. Seeing these characters interact and observe the changes in the world around them is enough to sustain its runtime and provide a satisfying experience of watching life progress in real time. Viewers who are at this point in their lives may see themselves in this movie, understanding the transitional period between one’s vibrant youth and reminiscent old age. Even if the melodrama may bog down the story, there are some strong ideas here and the cast chemistry makes it shine.

Re: Uniting will be released in US theaters on May 31, 2024.

Re: Uniting Trailer (Vortex Media)
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