Ben & Lacy Image

Ben & Lacy

By Sabina Dana Plasse | July 22, 2023

Ben & Lacy, from writer-director-star Michael Shacket, writer, is a romantic comedy about young love with a refreshing and far from mundane twist of capturing a relationship on camera. After receiving a camera as a graduation gift, 18-year-old Ben (Shacket) decides to vlog his life. When he reconnects and falls in love with his classmate, Lacy (Morgan Overley), the vlog captures Ben and Lacy’s relationship, which is much more than just the day-to-day ramblings and happenings of post-high school life.

Ben & Lacy is a character-driven story that brings about unexpected change and emotion, providing a foundation for adult life. As a third character, the camera is a place of confession, action, self-indulgence, and disgust. As a perspective and catchall, Ben’s vlog is an outlet for storytelling that is used efficiently without overkill, and it weaves in and out of the film with minimal disruption.

The shaggy and introspective post-millennial Ben works as a barista when the precocious and attractive Lacy enters the café and becomes enthralled with being filmed while digging on Ben. As the two date and become involved in a relationship, Lacy becomes more the center of the film. She takes on the camera to discuss her life and failings, primarily confessing to the disruption in her pursuit of a college education. Throughout her therapy sessions, she learns more about the workings of the camera and discovers she wants to pursue filmmaking. However, this decision comes as a life lesson. Young love though genuine and sweet, is not always made to last. Can these two lovebirds defy the odds, or does growing up mean growing apart?

“…the vlog captures Ben and Lacy’s relationship…”

As simple and familiar as Ben & Lacy appears to be, it’s not. Shacket uses Ben to create an arc to the story that Lacy fills out, which wraps around the narrative, creating a decent ending — the vlog is a bookend, as it were. Told in chapters with a very appealing and groovy indie music soundtrack, the film took some planning and ingenuity to use the vlog as a pivotal character and a method of moving this story forward. Camera angles, positioning, time, and continuity play a big part in the momentum. There are also creative decisions with the camera function and vlogging, with some blurring out of a face and movement in backgrounds, which offers more emotion and connection to all the talking on camera. Mostly, every character comments about being always filmed, which becomes the viewer’s place of context in the meta-film universe presented here.

Ben & Lacy takes the meta to another level with a great deal of mirror storytelling and filmmaking. The filmmaker offers a thoughtful approach to these characters and their plight, but Shacket needs to find more balance toward the end, as it’s almost a step back, not forward. In addition, much of the acting is more play-acting than traditional film because of the camera’s omnipresence and, depending on the scene, the camera is a joy or discomfort.

A great deal of thought and execution went into creating Ben & Lacy. The vivaciousness of Michael Shacket is to be noted. It might be interesting to keep tabs on him.

Ben & Lacy (2023)

Directed and Written: Michael Shacket

Starring: Michael Shacket, Morgan Overley, etc.

Movie score: 7.5/10

Ben & Lacy Image

"…offers a thoughtful approach to these characters..."

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