What looked like yet another one-who-got-away tale on the outside turned out to be, on the inside, a story of friends who find themselves stuck in life and realize that the way to finding your path is uncovering both your true friends and true self.
The world premiere of “She’s In Portland,” directed by Marc Carlini, was shown at the 35th annual Boston Film Festival where some of the cast and crew attended and spoke at the question and answer section after the film showing.
The film is about two college friends now in their 30s that are both stuck in unhappy lives, trying to find their way back to their youth and happiness. Tommy Dewey plays Wes, a successful businessman who has problems at home with his wife and decides to extend his business trip in San Francisco to help his struggling artist friend Luke, played by François Arnaud, find the one who got away. Luke is living in Los Angeles but wants to move back home and give up on his art because of struggles in his love and work life.
J.C. Monahan, NBC news caster for WBTS, said she thought the film sounded a lot like “There’s Something About Mary” after reading the synopsis about Luke trying to find the one that got away, but it’s much more about friendship the journey back to youth and the people you meet along the way.
The heart of the story lies in the friends Luke and Wes make along the way during their road trip across the California coast to get to Portland, Oregon, where Luke’s love interest lives. It’s really about their difficulty to talk about the hardships that they are both facing.
Dewey said it’s just “two dudes kind of struggling and afraid to speak about it.” In the film, Luke thinks that Wes has the perfect life because he makes a lot of money and has a wife and daughter, and Wes believes Luke has a better life because of his freedom from responsibilities and marriage.
This film shows the hard realities of life, yet also gives the audience a silver lining in these struggles by the end. Luke and Wes finally realize how difficult both their lives can be, but they also see that not all is lost. The idea that no one has a perfect life is present throughout the film. This is shown through side characters, like Lola Glaudini as Ellen. When Wes and Luke meet Ellen and her friend, they discover that they’re all facing difficult times in different ways, but they also realize in a beautiful dinner scene that everything is going to be okay.
The dinner scene is an important part of the film because it depicts four adults just talking about life. Glaudini said about the scene that “there’s no agenda” with it. The characters are just talking about life and the pursuit of love and happiness.
When asked about the first reading of the script. Arnaud said, “The characters came to life on the page; I felt very close to the material.”
Another important part of the film was the cinematography. Much of the striking overhead shots in the film were “mostly drone shooting,” Carlini said.
When Dewey was asked about what it was like to have Minka Kelly play his wife Sarah in the film, he joked, “Minka has always had a big crush on me, I don’t mean to be egotistical but…” The whole audience laughed as Dewey grinned. “She’s still really into me – I’m still screening the calls.”
When asked about the scene where Wes and Luke go to a college party during their road trip, Dewey smiled and said that the scene was real.
“François and I got drunk and went to a college party,” he said, but both Arnaud and Dewey agreed that they didn’t want the scene to be “pervy.” Arnaud then said to Dewey, “There’s a few lines your character said that were a little pervy.”
Carlini said about Wes and Luke that “they’re both looking in different directions,” with Wes looking in on his life and Luke looking out on his life. When asked how he feels now that it’s out, he said, “It’s nice to know everyone else reacts to it.”
Carlini said he had the idea of making the movie for a long time, but decided to make it after his friend’s wife died giving birth to their third child. He explained that he said to himself, “I’m not going back to L.A. until I make this movie.”
Some advice Carlini had to aspiring filmmakers was that he “wouldn’t recommend anyone to go edit their own film.”