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‘Comfort’ (review)

Produced by Mark Heidelberger
Written and Directed by William Lu
Starring Christopher Dinh, Julie Zhan,
Kelvin Han Yee, Billy Sly Williams

 

For me, there’s nothing like having my grandmother’s lamb stew while being wrapped in a blanket and watching movies on the couch. For others, it’s spending time with loved ones or reading a good book in silence.

There are many things that bring us comfort: that warm happy feeling that makes us feel safe and relaxed.

William Lu’s Comfort encompasses all these feelings to create one 103 minutes of pure comfortable joy.

Being a night courier is no easy task, but for Cameron (played by Chris Dinah), a twenty-something year-old, he finds solitude driving in the streets of Los Angeles.

He isn’t passionate about this job since it doesn’t fuel his creativity. But like most jobs, it pays the bills.

He secretly longs to be a chef, working in a kitchen, making himself and other people happy with his tasty delights. Instead he takes to filling his belly with various foods that bring him comfort.

During one delivery, Cameron is met by Martin (Kelvin Han Yee) one of his best clients, who asks him to pick up his daughter Jasmine (Julie Zhan) from the airport who is only in town for one day. Not wanting to turn down his best tipper nor face the wrath of his boss Eddie (Billy Sly Williams) he obliges.

Jasmine, expecting to be greeted by her father, feels abandoned and doesn’t take too kindly to a stranger instead of her father greeting her at the airport. However, what starts off as an uncomfortable encounter soon develops into a relaxed setting as Jasmine follows along on Cameron’s work shift. Exploring the town soon results in food tasting, introspective conversations, and a possible romance. They banter off each other and share a bond even if they both know its temporary.

Comfort is a pure delight to watch. The story comes together effortlessly, as we’re offered a peek inside the characters’ day together. There’s a connection between Dinah and Zhan that makes them feel like old friends simply catching up and spending time together instead of two actors sharing scenes. You watch them grow closer, as chemistry dances between them in unspoken silence. You wonder if they will take their attraction a step further as they make eye-contact or sneak a smile in-between stolen glaces. You can’t help but find comfort in their paring.

The film’s pitch-perfect execution is further aided by cinematographer Aashish Ghandi, whose expert camerawork makes the film visually come to life. Capturing both literal and metaphoric intimate moments, the camera glides through a series of closeups and far-shots without making it feel intrusive or misplaced. Focusing on small moments,  characters are able to express more with their bodies than their words, adding depth to a scene.

Finally, an Asian-American movie that doesn’t fall into stereotypes as the “tech guy” or “the nerdy guy” or the “shy guy.” These characters are relatable to anyone watching, and laughs in the face of notion that Asian-American actors can’t sell movies. Comfort is not a movie to be missed. Writer-director William Lu’s feature film debut is a masterclass in subtlety and beauty. Enhancing the simple things in life, there are multiple layers of comfort this movie explores while always keeping the audience close at heart.

 

Comfort is available on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play.

 

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