A beautiful coming-of-age story that literally comes out of nowhere is Nick Richey’s Low Low. Four friends are confronted with the inevitable change to their relationship post-high school on the last day of summer. Set in Vancouver, Washington, Candace (Montana Roesch) is the lucky one leaving to Evergreen College the next day. Lana (Kacie Rogers), Willy (Alexis Raich), and Ryan (Ali Richey) are the friends she’s leaving behind. While Lana and Willy are staying back with no real plans ahead, Ryan is the only one of the remaining three who can go to Evergreen. She just needs to pass her GED.
The film spans about a day and a half of the quartet’s last summer together. Of course, it all starts at a party until it ends the next day about an even bigger party. As Candace prepares to leave, there are some loose ends to tie up. First, there’s saying goodbye to her friends and wrapping up her high school romance with boyfriend, who’s not going with her.
“…the inevitable change to their relationship post-high school on the last day of summer.”
Then there’s Willy, who slept with the boyfriend of her rival Tanya (Savannah Stehlin), didn’t use a condom, and needs the morning-after pill. Those pills are expensive. Much of Low Low centers on Ryan, who lives with her mother Sylvia (Elaine Hendrix), who is not the greatest fan of Ryan. Contemptuous is probably the best way to describe this mother/daughter dynamic. Though Ryan has the potential to go to college, her mother presents a severe roadblock. Also, Ryan believes she’s not smart, nor deserving enough in the first place.
Let’s start by just saying Low Low is a fantastic independent film about the transition in life from teenager to young adult. Nothing is ever easy for our four protagonists, and a single wrong choice or misstep can thwart one’s future for better or worse. Up until now, the straight-laced Candace has kept her nose clean, but tries cocaine and shoplifts beer for the first time under peer pressure. Lana tries to get Willy to take responsibility for her actions but does it for her. Lastly, Ryan appears to have given up on her future and jeopardizes it by laying a serious beat down on Tanya, when she attacks Willy.
“By far the best quality of this film is its characters.”
Where Low Low succeeds is in Richey’s screenplay. Right off the bat, you believe and buy into the friendship between the four leads. The conflicts the four faces are heightened enough to feel realistic and plays out as authentic. Is this seriously the world my pre-teen has to look forward to in four years? The ladies confront issues surrounding sex, sexual exploitation, violence, and hope amid an unclear future (I’m so scared) .
By far the best quality of this film is its characters. I love that not only does Low Low have four distinct lead characters, but you buy into why exactly they are friends in the first place. It’s sort of a modern-day Stand By Me. Each character is well-developed and played brilliantly. Ali Richey and Kacie Rogers stand out, but Alexis Raich and Montana Roesch are no slouches either. Good story and strong acting are a killer combination in this independent film.
"…sort of a modern-day Stand By Me"