By James Teitelbaum | May 16, 2009

Miriam (Kristen Shaw) is an agoraphobic shut-in who hasn’t left her apartment since the death of her husband. This slightly nutty woman still imagines her dear departed Sam (Craig Braun) living in the apartment with her. Sam is not only the voice in her head, but is also the voice of reason, telling her that after fifteen years, maybe it is time for her to go outside.

This choice is forced upon her when her monthly trauma – going to the apartment building’s lobby to pay her rent – ends in disaster: her key breaks in the lock, and she must go outside to find the building manager. She ends up meeting a kindly (if lonely) man named Raymond (James Morrison) who gives her hope for a brighter future.

Things become momentarily heavy-handed when Miriam and Raymond first meet: as she creepily stares at him through the window of a restaurant, they both hear arias (arias!), and the camera goes slow-mo, just as Raymond is asked to make a birthday wish. Afterwards, Miriam is apparently too dumb to go back home to wait for the landlord; instead she sleeps in an alley. She makes it home in the morning, slightly traumatized, and guess who also lives in her building? You betcha’, it’s Ray.

The film looks just fine, the set of Miriam’s apartment is suitably dusty and atmospheric, and the cast members are all exactly the characters you’d expect them to be, from pony-tailed bartender to greasy landlord. All of this, plus the use of no less than four discreet recordings of the classic ballad “These Foolish Things” (in an 18-minute film!) lead me to believe that writer / director Todd Kaufman has a bright future ahead of himself directing cookie-cutter mainstream romantic tear-jerkers.

I hear they’re looking for someone to do a sequel to “The Notebook”…

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