The first film I screened at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival was writer/director Liz W. Garcia’s One Percent More Humid. The film is a New England set, college-age drama about two childhood friends, Iris (Juno Temple) and Catherine (Julia Garner), who reunite during their summer break in order to cope with the tragic loss of one of their best friends. Tormented by grief, rather than seek solace in each other, the two grow apart and each use ill-advised sexual adventures as a coping mechanism, among other typical young adult habits like partying and skinny-dipping, to fill the void in their lives.
One Percent More Humid is a decently crafted drama that, like its subjects, uses sex to distract us from much of the issues these women face while dealing with immense grief. Much of it makes sense and works for the story, especially since the aptly timed flashback scenes give us greater insight into why the two are struggling so much, but the level of sexuality in the film can take us out of the moment, causing us to focus on the new relationships that are forming. The reason this is an issue is because we, as the audience, know immediately that the relationships are doomed from the start and that the results will be disastrous. Our only hope is that even with the mess these girls cause, they’ll both come out feeling some sort of relief that won’t drive them to further extremes, like suicide.
SPOIELRS On the whole, I found the film to be personally divisive. On the one hand, I’ve never experienced the type of grief and trauma that Catherine and Iris face so all I can do is sympathize yet, on the other hand, I find sleeping with father figures and a relative of the deceased just plain stupid especially when they have each other to confide in about all of their personal struggles.
In terms of determining their intelligence levels, which you have to do at some point because of the choices they make, it’s hard to do based on the background information we receive on each of them, so all I can say is that these girls are stubborn and not very resourceful, though stupid and selfish wouldn’t be that far off by the time we reach the third act. That being said, their male counterparts in the film are not innocent in all this either and are taking advantage of vulnerable women struggling to come to terms with the death of their best friend. END SPOILERS
The most memorable aspect of One Percent More Humid was the cinematography. I thought the visuals were quite striking as the filmmakers captured the essence of a New England summer and all the natural beauty that accompanies it. In a way, it counteracted the depressing mood of the main characters so that the audience wouldn’t fall into completely gloomy state while watching the film even if it’s unavoidable at times.
When it comes to the performances, I thought everyone did a nice job. There isn’t much to dive into here since everyone did their job. There weren’t any standout performances and, for the most part, no one with a large chunk of screen time had poor performances. Billy, the deceased’s brother, was the only one I had trouble deciding if the acting was poor, if it was the script or if it was simply the way his character was actually supposed to be.
Overall, One Percent More Humid didn’t leave much of an impression on me. While the filmmaking is decent and the movie itself wasn’t bad, this is the type of independent film that you see, appreciate and then probably forget about a week later. That may be harsh but with so many films being released every year, there’s nothing about this one that makes it stick out strongly so that I could at least consider recommending it to others.