Movie Review: Must Come Down (2012)

I first saw Must Come Down back in 2014, in fact I think it was probably the first movie I ever purchased digitally. I came across it because I was already a fan of one of the stars, Ashly Burch, from her co-starring in the internet comedy series ‘Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin’?’ alongside her brother and co-creator Anthony Burch. I fell in love with their sibling dynamic and their fun video games based sketches. In fact I wrote a Top 10 list of my favourite HAWP episodes, and you can check that out here.

So when I saw that Ashly had starred in an independent feature film I decided I would check it out, and recently when I came across my copy tucked away in my external hard drive I decided I would review it. 

So before we move onto the review properly, a quick info dump, Must Come Down is a 2012 movie written and directed by Kenny Riches (noted for The Strongest Man, A Name Without a Place and Isip the Warrior) and produced by Patrick Fugit (noted for Almost Famous, White Oleander and Saved!) and Dominic Fratto (noted for Transit Remedy, HENRi and Klaüs). It was Riches first feature film, and premiered at the Cinequest Film Festival in March 2012. The movie stars the acting talents of Ashly Burch (noted for her roles in HAWP, Life is Strange, Borderlands, Steins;Gate and Final Space) and David Fetzer (noted for his roles in Isip the Warrior, How to Speak Clearly and Bad Fever) in the main roles as Holly and Ashley respectively. Sadly, David passed away in December 2012, however his legacy will live on in movies like these. 

Okay, so let’s get started with the review. Must Come Down was a fun and sweet movie that managed to avoid being overly saccharine or quirky. It focuses on Holly and Ashley, a pair of twentysomethings, one in their early 20s the other in their late 20s, both of whom are suffering from something of a mid-life, or I guess a quarter-life crisis. Both currently without jobs, or relationships, and they are currently aimless, meandering through life when their trajectories collide. When I watched this movie back in 2014, I was 20-years-old and while I could connect with the characters it didn’t really resonate as much as it does now where I am days away from turning 27 and I’ve lived much more life since then and yet I still don’t feel like a adult, I’m still bouncing from thing to thing and in many ways I really connect with the plight of both characters.

Must Come Down has plenty of whimsy and comedic relief but at its core it has genuine depth to it that helps the audience to really relate to the subject matter. Fetzer and Burch as the main characters work really well together, they have excellent chemistry and manage to be wacky at times while at others being sincere and real. It’s a fun movie overall though, I mean one of the main plot points is that David Fetzer’s character Ashley plans to break and enter into his childhood home so he can walk  about and sort of live in his nostalgia. As someone who often wants to return to old childhood haunts I totally understand that, although I might draw the line at home invasion. It seems extreme but honestly the movie does a great job of making it seem reasonable. I think that’s in no small part due to the dynamic between the leads who really sell the sort of impulsiveness and rashness of youth and fighting against not being that young anymore that settles when you’re in your twenties.

Holly, Ashly Burch’s character, and the younger of the pair has recently broken up with her boyfriend and her reaction is very organic, she just destroys all the keepsakes from their time together and then goes and does something really irresponsible. I talked about it before but the slow burn of their relationship, the silliness and the complexity to both characters really work.

So the movie is fun and engaging, and it speaks to the people of my generation who feel adrift, and deals with that feeling in a way that’s subtly uplifting without giving us any easy fixes. Must Come Down was also well written, and especially for his directorial debut, Kenny Riches shows considerable skill. It’s witty without feeling quippy, it’s real without being grim, and it’s silly and offbeat without being quirky. I think upon reflection having watched this once when I was 20 and once when I am approaching 27 that it’s good regardless of where you are in life, but really hits home when you’re closing in on 30. So with all of that in mind I think I’ll give it a solid 4/5.

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