Zachary Wigon

the heart machine gallagher

More than 15 years have passed since You’ve Got Mail, and online dating in the movies can still seem a little weird. Thanks to video chat programs like Skype, they’ve at least become more visual, but there’s still the issue of disconnect between characters that is obviously realistic but also heightened by the extra screen of the movie frame. When we see a couple talking through their computers, one of them is always going to seem extremely distant and also extremely confined by that computer window. It’s hard to feel something between two people in love through that barrier, even if we know what the experience is like, how that feeling can exist. It’s one of the very few things holding down The Heart Machine, an otherwise superb romantic drama that does seem conscious of having to grapple with such an obstacle. But the film’s pair, Cody and Virginia (John Gallagher Jr. and Kate Lyn Sheil), aren’t given a lot of comfort time to show us any true feelings. In the opening scene they’re Skyping, well into a relationship it seems, and on her end is the sound of a lot of emergency vehicle sirens. After they hang up, Cody goes to a sound effects website to remind himself of what a German ambulance actually sounds like, because as it turns out Virginia has led him to believe she’s in Berlin for six months. And that German ambulance clip is not what he heard on the call earlier. Suddenly he’s […]


heart machine still

Nearly a year ago, I devoted the Fund This Film column to an indie feature called Funny Bunny in part because it was to star Kate Lyn Sheil, one of the most interesting young actresses working today. You should know her from such movies as The Comedy, The Color Wheel, V/H/S, Sun Don’t Shine, Somebody Up There Likes Me and maybe Listen Up Philip if you were at Sundance this year. Unfortunately, she had to drop out of Funny Bunny (which was funded and then made, and we’re still looking forward to it), and now here I am to spotlight another Kickstarter project with Sheil’s name attached. I can guarantee she’ll be in this one, as it’s already been shot and is set to debut in competition at SXSW next month. It’s called The Heart Machine. Co-starring with Sheil in this romance thriller is Short Term 12‘s John Gallagher, Jr. They play a couple who falls in love via the Internet, without ever meeting in person because they’re separated by the Atlantic Ocean. He’s in New York City and she’s in Berlin. Or maybe she’s not? Like a dark indie dramatization of a Catfish episode, there’s possibly some serious lies at the base of this relationship, and Gallagher’s character apparently becomes obsessed with investigating whether or not his online girlfriend has been in New York City the whole time. I find it appropriate — or maybe it’s ironic? — that a movie about not knowing what you’re getting on the […]

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published: 01.27.2015
published: 01.27.2015
published: 01.27.2015
published: 01.27.2015

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