Riley (Kit Zauhar) struggles as she approaches graduation. A final paper earns a failing grade, landing her in a remedial summer course to get her full diploma. Meanwhile, she goes heart over head in pursuit of another Philadelphian making his way through New York. With added pressure from her immigrant parents to move out and find her own path, she wanders between parties looking for the answer.

It is refreshing to see a millennial mumblecore film that does not centre on white people. It is equally exciting to see a film made with a $10,000 micro budget (albeit with the executive production of Girls alum Zosia Mamet), written by and starring a first-time director. Unfortunately, Actual People is too caught up in the external signifiers of its heroine’s journey to pay much attention to their interiority. The resulting film flails aimlessly between stumbling blocks and growth moments, showing their effect in the moment but never building narrative continuity. The final weeks of university are a uniquely challenging, soul-searching time, but the aimlessness with which the financial, emotional, and mental tolls of little setbacks are approached in Actual People make them feel insignificant rather than respected. These complications add upon each other haphazardly with little eye to dramatic structure, resulting in an unsatisfying, and, at times, irritating journey.

Vapid conversations about boba and (in)abilities to commit to romantic relationships are often interjected with statements of being on alcohol or drugs, as if to justify the slapdash approach to dialogue and the aggravatingly self-centred bent of each statement regardless of what the partner is saying. It may be intentionally maddening, but the effect is one of lazy writing rather than of insight into young adult avoidance.

In the end, Actual People reaches the most superficial, expected conclusion, squandering any opportunity for insight. 



CAST: Kit Zauhar, Scott Albrecht, Vivian Zauhar, Isabelle Barbier

DIRECTOR: Kit Zauhar

WRITER: Kit Zauhar

SYNOPSIS: An aimless college senior goes to great lengths to win the affections of a boy and ends up having to confront anxieties about love, family, and future.