“Parks and Recreation” star Natalie Morales makes her feature directing debut with “Language Lessons,” a heartwarming dramedy about two people exploring a long-distance (and albeit platonic) relationship over Zoom. And while Zoom fatigue is very real when it comes to movies shot and released during the pandemic, this one manages to use the format creatively, and in a way that feels true to a story about people trying to connect in hard times using technology. Exclusive to IndieWire, watch the official trailer and check out the poster for the film below.
Morales, who this year also directed “Plan B,” stars in the film opposite her co-writer Mark Duplass. Here’s the official synopsis: “When Adam’s (Mark Duplass) husband surprises him with weekly Spanish lessons, he’s unsure about where or how this new element will fit into his already structured life. But when tragedy strikes, his Spanish teacher, Cariño (Natalie Morales), becomes a lifeline he didn’t know he needed. Adam develops an unexpected and complicated emotional bond with Cariño — but do you really know someone just because you’ve experienced a traumatic moment with them? Bittersweet, honest, and at times darkly funny, ‘Language Lessons’ is a disarmingly moving exploration of platonic love.”
“Language Lessons” world-premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival before heading on to win audience awards at both SXSW and the Frameline Film Festival. IndieWire’s Kate Erbland reviewed the movie positively out of the Berlinale, writing: “The film’s clever use of the format is hardly its most refreshing element: told any way, the heart of ‘Language Lessons’ would be moving and well worth exploring. Built on seemingly familiar tropes, Morales’ film resists the usual expectations of what might happen when two strangers bond intensely and under cute-sounding constraints. Adam’s sexual identity — and its fraught history, disclosed during one of their earliest sessions — removes the possibility of his and Cariño’s bond blossoming into anything more than platonic, and then makes that relationship just as meaningful and rich as any onscreen romance. Zoom fatigue may be real, but ‘Language Lessons’ ventures to show how true connection can come at any time, and through any medium, barriers be damned.”
Shout! Studios releases “Language Lessons” nationwide on September 10.