Film has unfortunately seen a slow down in the romantic genre. Over the last few years, with rare exception, there hasn’t really been very many great films about romantic relationships (no, “Fifty Shades of Grey” doesn’t count). “Band Aid” changes this. The film, directed, written by, and starring Zoe Lister-Jones, is a pleasant surprise and original way of storytelling about the ups and downs of a marriage. The title is very befitting of the film and Lister-Jones depicts the rocky road of two people who still love each other but have unresolved issues with striking balance of comedy and drama.
Anna (Zoe Lister-Jones) and Ben (Adam Pally) have been married for years, but for the last year have been really struggling to come to grips with certain events–a loss of a job and a miscarriage–that have changed the dynamic in their relationship. They’ve gone to marriage counseling sessions to help them along, but their bigger issues are swept under the rug and their frustrations with each other are expressed through petty arguments about dirty dishes and laziness. In a last effort to try and save their marriage, the pair come up with a unique plan to air out their grievances through music. So, with the help of their neighbor, Dave (Fred Armisen), they start a band and argue their feelings through song.
“Band Aid” is quite dynamic. Movies are often obsessed with the love story at the beginning, with the film usually ending when a couple finally gets together. But we never really see the progression or development afterward. A narrative about an already married couple who maturely, and often immaturely, deals with their relationship problems and all the feelings that come with it, feels like a breath of fresh air. This is because Lister-Jones does such a great job in balancing the lighter moments with the emotionally heavy ones. The film doesn’t really sugar coat things and there isn’t one big argument, but several ones throughout that progress and move the story along. Emotionally open and allowing both characters to express themselves is lovely and engaging to watch.
The music is a big part of the film and the lyrics to the song are often humorous, but honest in their nature. At one point, the couple is screaming at each other through song and the next, they’re declaring that they love each other but don’t want to have sex with each other either. And all of these little things blend into the fabric of their story. Lister-Jones doesn’t employ long scenes of contrived drama or exposition to tell us why they each feel the way they do. The songs themselves often do much of the explaining and emotional venting and this does wonders for the film’s narrative.
It helps that Lister-Jones and Adam Pally have a wonderful dynamic onscreen. It’s easy to believe when they are annoyed with each other and also when their looks depict how much they still care for one another as well. “Band Aid” is emotionally honest, multi-faceted, and engaging. There is never a boring moment watching the couple navigate their way through their issues. The film tackles some heavy subject matter, like Anna’s feelings about her miscarriage, and does so in a way that rings true. Emotionally raw while being fun at the same time, “Band Aid” is a lovely film that explores marital problems in an original way.
The film tackles some heavy subject matter and does so in a way that rings true. Emotionally raw while being fun at the same time, Band Aid is a lovely film that explores marital problems in an original way.