While highly improvised and not reliant on typical rom com conventions, The Feels is a romantic comedy disguised as an indie film, full of surprising turns from social comedy to (pre)matrimonial tragedy. The film is set in California wine country on the cusp of a lesbian couple's joint bachelorette weekend. On one of the first nights of their trip, one half of the pair, Lu, admits she's never had an orgasm. A madcap weekend ensues, full of the comedic and tragic elements that any modern film of this genre should have. It's a long-haul rom com, full of the awkward interactions, petty fights and misunderstandings common to a real relationship. That's what makes the film so effective and beautiful.
It took me about 15 minutes to buy into this very improvisational, loose plot/dialogue structure, however. At first, the dynamics and jokes of the film felt a bit forced, trying a little too hard to be clever, to seem genuine. There's also a recurring plot device in the film in which each character gets interviewed about their first orgasm; though often hilarious, it's never explained who they're talking to and why, so it's a bit of a suspend-your-disbelief type situation. But for this film, I was so down to do that.
So many things were in this film were done so well. The cinematography, of course, is gorgeous. The views of California wine country, the candlelit bachelorette dinner, the simple aesthetic of the weekend house and the vibrant background of the interviews were all just so visually appealing. They really mirrored the film's playful, explorative atmosphere. Another standout quality of the filmmaking was the dialogue. Apparently much of The Feels was improvised, which makes the hilarity of the dialogue all the more impressive. Regular Helen steals the show again and again with hilariously bawdy tales and awkward, completely unselfconscious fumbles.
In my opinion, The Feels is a beautiful queer love story and a proud addition to the genre of rom com. But it's so much more than that. It shows us that sexual and romantic dysfunctions and concerns transcend gender, race and sexuality. A woman might not have any idea how to make her girlfriend come any more than a man, and that's fine. Because, and this film really drives this point home, it's about open communication, which transcends every human category. Full of humor, sadness, and everything in between, The Feels may be many things, but it's definitely not to be missed.