Brand New Old Love tells the story of Charlie (Arturo Castro) and Hannah (Aya Cash), two former high school friends who decide to make good on a promise they made to one another to get married if they were both single at age 30. Despite the fact that they haven’t seen each other in many years, Charlie and Hannah dive into their new life with both feet with enthusiasm… until they realize that they may not even like each other, let alone loveone another.
Written and directed by Catherine ‘Cat’ Reinhold, Old Love sets out to be a satirical exploration of the rom-com genre. Inspired by her frustration with the stereotypes associated with Disney princesses, Reinhold explores what happens afterthe couple get their ‘happily ever after’ when real relationship drama sets in. In her first full-length feature, Reinhold creates an engaging and entertaining world, based on an idea that’s common to many of us. (After all, who didn’t have a ‘back-up’ when they were growing up?) However, she serves the film well by bringing a dose of reality into the idealized setting. There’s an appropriate level of awkwardness in every scene, from the moment they first move into their apartment together to the various times they attempt to move out of the ‘friend zone’.
Seeking to avoid the rom-com stereotypes, there are few moments of ‘fireworks’ in Old Love, reminding us of the effort that goes into relationships. Although they were best-friends in their youth, both Charlie and Hannah have since grown up and grown apart, creating a void that they naively assume will be easily overcome. Wisely, Old Love doesn’t shy away from this gap, emphasizing the challenges that impede the fantasy of the perfect marriage. Subtle realities like taking out the garbage or where to eat allow Reinhart to explore the difference between simply being roommates and building a relationship in a fun and engaging manner. In Old Love, the greatest challenge is creating a spark, even when the fire is out. It reminds us that there is a commitment to love, even when there’s no romantic music in the background or starry-eyed glances between them.
In the end, Brand New Old Love is a light-hearted film that is as concerned with creating an enjoyable rom-com as it is with usurping its stereotypes. Rather than look for high-concept scenarios, the film opts to live on the ground, creating its humor out of everyday realities. It’s only in these moments of struggle that Reinhard believes we can truly find our ‘happily ever after’.
You can hear audio of our interview with Cat here.
Brand New Old Love is on VOD as of August 28th, 2018