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Review: Once it finds its groove, ‘One Bedroom’ shows off some fresh moves

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Review: Once it finds its groove, ‘One Bedroom’ shows off some fresh moves

When it finally calms down and takes a more serious look at the nitty-gritty of romantic relationships, writer-director-star Darien Sills-Evans ’ micro-budget comedy “One Bedroom” offers some authentic insight into what brings people together, keeps them united and splits them apart.

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This amusing, if talky tale of the breakup between Nate (Sills-Evans), a club DJ and barber, and schoolteacher Melissa (Devin Nelson) is set largely in a brownstone apartment in the filmmaker’s hometown of Brooklyn, N.Y. That is, when we’re not in the local barbershop with Nate and his broadly bantering hair-cutting buddies (Jon Laster, Chester Sims II, Freddy Sheffield) as Nate recounts what led Melissa to move out.

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Advertisement The film evokes a kind of African American “Annie Hall” as it flashes back, at times in nonlinear fashion, on the good, the bad and the ugly of the NateMelissa pairing. Unfortunately, it overdoes — and overplays — the strident litany of he said-she said recriminations and reprisals until the lovers get to some key truths and unexpected reactions

Not unlike the story, Sills-Evans and Nelson become more engaging as they go, allowing us to better understand their characters’ strengths and foibles — and regrets. This welcome shift allows the film to make a few fresh, final moves that feel credible and earned. Amber Reauchean Williams also hits some nice notes as Nelson’s protective BFF, Cora

————- ‘One Bedroom’ Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 23 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills