“All About Who You Know” takes a rom com premise and uses it to tell a story of ambition, cynicism and romance. But it’s not a rom com. It’s too meta for that. It’s a movie that follows the rom com rules but twists them to become a tribute to the kind of movies that inspired it.
Cole (Dylan Everett) is a film grad who sees life through a lens of movie references. His life is a series of imagined scenarios, ripped from the movies he is obsessed with. His dreams are that of many a film student. He wants to live and work in Los Angeles, writing screenplays that don’t follow the “same six storylines,” but he needs an in. When he meets Haley (Niamh Wilson), daughter of an Oscar winning screenwriter (David Hewlett) he contrives a rom com style hook up to get to her and her father. “It was all planned like some horses**t heist movie,” he says later. His scheme works but he soon realizes that real life and the movies are two very different things.
“All About Who You Know” takes a genre we’ve all seen and recontextualizes it with clever dialogue and characters who don’t behave as though they have just swigged from a bottle of love potion. They bare themselves in ways that no real rom com would allow. When he questions why she didn’t give him her phone number when they first met she says, “Because I wanted you to find me. I wanted you to prove that you wanted me. I am sick and tired of being obsessed with people who aren’t obsessed with me back.”
It is, as the tagline on the poster reads, “romantic-ish,” a movie that finds satisfaction in allowing the characters to behave true to form and not by allowing the form to dictate how the characters will behave. It’s a nervy take on the rom com genre and it works.
“All About Who You Know” is a clever movie that sometimes feels a little too self-aware and occasionally allows the pacing to go slack but a trio of lead performances from Everett, Wilson and Stephen Joffe as Cole’s BFF bring the film’s premise to shimmering life.
Add to that a sparkling indie soundtrack and you have something that isn’t a rom com—maybe we should call it a rom can’t—but a reinvention from Canadian writer-director Jake Horowitz.
“All About Who You Know,” which lost its festival run to the pandemic, can be now be found on Crave.