The List Review: A Quest for Passion That Falls Short of its Potential

Director Melissa Miller Costanzo’s film The List takes a daring leap into exploring the intricate dynamics of relationships, jealousy, and human desires. With a promising premise that delves into the complexities of modern romantic commitments, the film attempts to blend comedy and drama while navigating the treacherous waters of infidelity and self-discovery. Starring Halston Sage as Abby Meyers, Christian Navarro as Jake, and Jonah Platt as Matt, the film brings together a talented cast to tackle a concept that’s as enticing as it is morally complicated.

At the heart of The List lies a premise rife with potential. The film’s central idea revolves around the intriguing concept of the “free pass list.” Abby Meyers, portrayed by Halston Sage, learns that her fiancĂ© has used his free pass to sleep with a celebrity. Faced with a crumbling relationship and a jolt to her sense of self-worth, Abby embarks on a journey to Los Angeles to tick off her own free pass list. This setup promises a blend of humor and introspection as Abby confronts societal norms and personal insecurities. However, the narrative execution falls short of fully exploring the emotional complexities of this scenario.

The Bad:

The List (2023).

While the film introduces characters with relatable human struggles, it struggles to provide them with the depth they deserve. Halston Sage’s portrayal of Abby Meyers captures the essence of a woman grappling with betrayal and a yearning for independence. However, the character’s journey lacks the depth needed to truly empathize with her choices. The emotional evolution of the characters, particularly Abby and her romantic interests, is somewhat predictable and fails to surprise or engage the audience on a profound level. Christian Navarro and Jonah Platt, as Jake and Matt respectively, deliver solid performances, but their characters feel underdeveloped, serving as mere tools to drive Abby’s narrative forward.

The film’s writing strikes a balance between humor and introspection, often capturing the inner monologues of characters with a dose of wit. The dialogue is generally crisp and relatable, injecting moments of authenticity into the film. Abby’s interactions with Jake and Matt carry the weight of a simmering emotional tension, but these exchanges are not fully mined for their potential. The film’s comedic elements occasionally provide much-needed levity, but they also undercut the gravity of Abby’s quest, leaving the audience craving a more seamless blending of humor and heartfelt reflection.

The Good:

Halston Sage in The List (2023).

Melissa Miller Costanzo’s direction demonstrates a solid understanding of tone and pacing, keeping the film engaging throughout. The visuals capture the vibrant backdrop of Los Angeles while juxtaposing it with the characters’ internal conflicts. The cinematography serves as a backdrop to the emotional journey, though it could have been utilized more creatively to amplify the contrasts between Abby’s initial naivety and eventual self-discovery.

The List touches on themes of self-discovery, fidelity, and the fluid nature of desires. While these themes provide the film with ample substance to explore, they are often presented in a superficial manner. The narrative occasionally loses sight of its potential for deeper exploration, instead opting for easy resolutions and predictable character arcs. The film grapples with the societal expectations of relationships and the complexities of human desires, but it falls short of fully delving into the psychological motivations that underpin such choices.

Overall:

It offers a tantalizing premise that serves as an exploration of modern relationships, desires, and self-discovery. The film’s solid performances and witty dialogue provide moments of genuine engagement. However, it struggles to fully realize its potential, with underdeveloped characters and a narrative that occasionally sidesteps the emotional intricacies it should be dissecting. While The List manages to entertain, it falls short of leaving a lasting impact due to its inability to probe deeper into the human psyche and the nuances of contemporary romantic commitments.

The List is a commendable effort that falls somewhere between enjoyable escapism and profound exploration. With a more refined focus on character development and a willingness to probe the emotional depths of its premise, the film could have elevated itself from a light-hearted romantic comedy to a thought-provoking commentary on the ever-evolving landscape of modern relationships.

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The List Review: A Quest for Passion That Falls Short of its Potential
  • Acting - 6/10
    6/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 6/10
    6/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 5/10
    5/10
  • Setting/Theme - 5/10
    5/10
  • Watchability - 5/10
    5/10
  • Rewatchability - 4/10
    4/10
Overall
5.2/10
5.2/10
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About Caillou Pettis

Caillou Pettis is a professional film critic and journalist as well as the author of While You Sleep, The Inspiring World of Horror: The Movies That Influenced Generations, and co-author of Out of Time: True Paranormal Encounters. He has been writing in the entertainment industry for over seven and a half years professionally. Throughout the years, he has written articles for publications including Gold Derby, Exclaim!, CBR, Awards Radar, Awards Watch, Flickering Myth, BRWC, Starburst Magazine, Punch Drunk Critics, Mediaversity Reviews, Vinyl Chapters, Northern Transmissions, and Beats Per Minute.