" I have 4 days to make you my new best friend "
— Cameron Diaz, My Best Friend’s Wedding

MRQE Top Critic

Jaffa

Jaffa views the Israeli/Palestinian conflict through the lens of young love. —Matt Anderson (DVD review...)

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Not Since You is the story of old college friends and the unresolved conflicts and love affairs that resurface when they reunite for a weekend wedding in Georgia. This film will invariably invite comparisons with The Big Chill. I spotted it when I saw the trailer and the filmmaker copped to the connection during the Q&A. Both movies are about friends getting together after a long time and reevaluating life. However, Not Since You is anything but a remake. It is a film with it a unique look, voice, characters. Audience members might themselves be dealing with similar issues that the film addresses in the wake of tragedies like September 11.

The film begins with pans across photo collages of the group as they were during college days and the professionals they turned into after graduation. Then we individually catch up with each person as they arrive in Georgia for the wedding of Ashley (Victoria Leigh) and Daniel (Grant Sharp). As the movie unfolds, we learn where life has taken them thus far.

Actors are accomplished professionals right for these parts
Actors are accomplished professionals right for these parts

The characters, their interactions and epiphanies drive this piece. We all know someone like stockbroker Billy (Will Estes), businessman turned slacker “Fudge” (Elden Henson), wanderluster Sam (Desmond Harrington) or entrepreneur Howard (Jon Abrahams).

Coming to terms with former amours, repairing damaged friendships and forming new ones are not new themes in movies. What makes this one work is that the actors are not “A-list” square pegs being jammed into a genre “round hole.” They are accomplished professionals with the right look, demeanor, and age for these parts.

During the proceedings, Sam sees his former amore, Amy (Kathleen Robertson), who is now married. Howard has to face the impending marriage of best friend Billy and ex-girlfriend Victoria (Sunny Mabrey). The film’s subplots deal with healing these subordinate relationships and accepting the changes in life before the whole fellowship can reunite and move forward.

The movie deals with the reconciliation of romanticized love with real love. “Love is still love, even if it’s not romantic love,” said director Jeff Stephenson. In Not Since You he shows how the genders deal with the blossoming, the trials, and the end of love. He shows the reconciliation of the feelings left over from an old love that worked at the time, but which has given way to a new love that — while not necessarily better — is appropriate to one’s current stage of life.

Director Jeff Stephenson, Brent Laffoon, and Jane Kelly Kosek collaborated on the screenplay. The film screened on Oct. 25 as part of the Starz network’s Hollywood Film Festival at the Arclight in Hollywood. Not Since You will screen for distributors at the American Film Market in November of this year.