Sioux City Journal
‘Love…Reconsidered’ offers look at relationships
By Bruce Miller
October 04, 2023
The person you profess to love could be the one who’s doing you absolutely no good.
Or so we learn in “Love…Reconsidered,” a Mobius strip of a comedy that kicks off the Sioux City International Film Festival Thursday night. Written by Arielle Haller-Silverstone (a past winner in the local competition) and directed by Carol Ray Hartsell, it follows a down-on-her-luck cater-waiter, Ruby (Sophie von Haselberg), who can’t quite find her way through 15 careers and multiple relationships. By luck, she’s given a store in the Hamptons where she becomes the connective tissue for a host of relationships.
A key player: Eden (Julia Coffey), a pushy resident who insists she’s helping Ruby with her career. Instead, she’s using her for everything – from a $592 lunch to a fundraiser that will make her look good. Ruby, however, doesn’t have the guts to call her on the relationship, so she forges ahead, meeting others who are at various stages of their encounters.
A roommate (Luke Gulbranson) also factors into her life, and assorted customers make The Magic Closet a stop on their way to other affairs.
Hartsell juggles the multitudes deftly, often nudging Ruby to the side while others (like a teenager who swipes an expensive bra from the store) get to play out their stories. Each tells an aspect of love. But the heart of the film belongs to Ruby. She’s a good soul who wants to do right by her benefactor (a sweet Elaine Bromka) and the Hamptons regulars. When Eden (so deviously slappable in Coffey’s hands) uses the friendship to craft a Boas for Bora Bora party, everything seems to bubble to the top. Ruby realizes the ones who matter and the ones who matter much, much less.
Like the summer retreat, “Love…Reconsidered” is a breezy comedy that isn’t afraid to use profanity to make a point.
Von Haselberg looks like her mother, Bette Midler, but has a style that’s uniquely her own. She makes Ruby’s situation entirely understandable and her resolution perfectly motivated.
Because “Reconsidered” doesn’t take advantage of its location (it’s limited to a few drone shots), moments don’t always have the specificity they should. Haller-Silverstone’s characters, however, are real originals. Paige and Ollie, for example, deserve many more scenes.
“Love…Reconsidered” will be shown Thursday at the Promenade Cinema 14. Filmmakers will be in attendance for a post-screening discussion.