Adam Driver’s 1st Feature Film: “Not Waving But Drowning” (2012)

This movie (focused on female friendship) was written/directed by a young woman, Devyn Waitt. We first see a short film titled The Most Girl Part of You, based on a short story by Amy Hempel. In the days following his mother’s suicide, a teen boy named Big Guy (Ryan Munzert) and his BFF Amy (Lili Reinhart- one of the stars of Riverdale), begin to see each other in new ways. This story is dark, yet also sweet, perhaps reminding one of first love. The second story is about moving away from family, becoming distant from an old friend, and trying to make a new life.

One summer, blonde/bubbly Adele (Vanessa Ray) leaves her small town in Florida for NYC. She’d grown tired of her boring job and the (married) man who’d been chasing her. Her brunette/reserved BFF, Sara (Megan Guinan), stays behind. Adele has a small/crappy apt in a neighborhood that looks a BIT sketchy. One of her young neighbors, Kim (Isabelle McNally), wants to be her friend. Adele (though she has gone to college) can ONLY get a job cleaning a high-rise office building. Adam (Adam Driver) is her co-worker; this isn’t a big role, but it’s an important one.

After a huge pile-up on the freeway, Sara’s cop father (Scott Bryce from As the World Turns) becomes anxious/depressed. He thinks it’s too dangerous for Sara to drive her old car; she uses her bike instead. Sara starts work at a local retirement home where she monitors the hallways and teaches art. She meets Sylvia (Lynn Cohen- best known as Magda on SATC), an older woman who flouts the rules. It turns out that Sylvia also lived in NYC and had many adventures in her young life.

Feeling lonely/bored, Adele decides to go drinking/clubbing w/ Kim. They end up on a rooftop w/ a small group; it looks like everyone is having fun. Adele and one of the young men end up kissing, then he sexually assaults her (she’s scared/verbally protests). Sadly, she can’t bring herself to confide in anyone (certainly NOT her much younger sister- or even- Sara)! Adele is V curious re: the man who leaves late at night; she sneaks into his office and starts writing on his computer. She wants to be a journalist, she tells Adam.

Finding people you can trust is often tough in a new/big city. Adam is kind, honest, and a good friend to Adele. He has longish hair and wears tees, shorts, and a messenger bag. After Kim and her friends steal beer and cigarettes from a bodega, Adam pays the clerk. He looks disappointed as he tells Adele that she doesn’t need to hang out w/ people like that. After a few mins, she returns to where he was waiting nearby. Adele decides to go on a “day date” w/ Adam in Central Park. (FYI: This is Driver’s 1st feature-length film; it was shot about 4-5 yrs before it got released.) In Frances Ha, BOTH Ray and McNally have small roles (where they act alongside Driver). You can see this movie on YouTube.

[1] Firstly, the acting was superior to many other mainstream movies… In addition, the thoughtful plot provided refreshing insight into character development for this coming of age story.

[2] Regardless of your generation or gender, there’s much to appreciate in this film about two young women moving from their adolescent lives into the wider world. […]

The characters develop through multiple experiences that are sometimes uncomfortable or worse. Yet, overall there’s so much energy, humor, and truth that the film feels very balanced. The editing and music are dynamic and keep the viewer highly engaged.

[3] I very much related to this amazingly accurate portrayal of what it’s like to move to New York to “begin your life”. It deals so well with the divide between what you want/expect and what the real world is actually like. The visuals are great…

-Excerpts from IMDb reviews



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