You’ve found your soulmate in friendship and marriage. You can (and feel it necessary to) confide anything and everything to your partner. On top of this, the relationship is so ridiculously cute, that to others it causes only irking, jealous resentment. There’s only one problem with this seemingly perfect marriage; you can’t remember the last time you had sex. Was it Christmas? No. Was it Thanksgiving? No.It’s been a long time. It’s been a really long time.
The concept of a sexually stagnant marriage is not a groundbreaking idea. It is also is the propeller behind The Freebie. Just because the problem itself is not inherently uninteresting does not mean that the film is also necessarily so, especially when handled in a way such as Katie Aselton, first-time director, handles it.
The charming couple includes Annie, played by Katie Aselton, and Darren, played by Dax Shepard. The two realize it’s been far too long since their last sexual experience and decide to handle their problem in an unorthodox manner; they will both have one “freebie” night in which they can have sex with whomever they want.
Both parties are tentative and uneasy about consensual infidelity, although they each carry out the plan. The film is terse in showing the relationship before the freebie, how the freebie unravels, and its eventual effect on a near-perfect marriage.
As mumblecore films generally are, The Freebie is an extremely intimate insight into a relatively ordinary situation. The beauty of the movie is not in the script or the visuals, but rather in the way that the film invites the audience into the life of its characters. With the completion of the film comes the realization that we now know Annie and Darren; and we are sympathetic with their situation.
Because of this realism, there is nothing predictable about The Freebie. We’re dealing with a near-perfect married couple that is attempting to fix their flaw in a dangerous way. The Freebie is concerned with this one issue. It never stumbles into unnecessary territory or slips in an unnecessary theme.
Dax Shepard did a satisfactory job with Darren. He was not brilliant, but still believable and effective. However, the performance that Katie Aselton delivers is amazing, to say the least. There is little doubt that this role will turn heads. Playing Annie demands a change of pace from “married best friend” to the awkward, regretful pacings of an unnecessarily shamed woman and Aselton delivers beautifully.
Starring: Dax Shephard, Katie Aselton
Director: Katie Aselton
Runtime: 78 minutes
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