Texas Snow

Like many of the Mumblecore films it closely resembles, Aaron Coffman’s D.I.Y. feature, Texas Snow is attentive to the rhythms and cadences of conversation, telling the story of its young protagonists through elliptical references, anecdotes, shared secrets and glances.  Texas Snow focuses on a budding romance between a painter, Jesse (John Gregory Willard), and a ballerina, Caroline (Julia Rust), both in their twenties.  Complicating matters just a bit, Caroline used to date Jesse’s roommate, Lee (Ryan Shields).  In fact, Lee once proposed to Caroline, who rejected him, and despite the rejection, Lee and Caroline have sought to maintain a friendship.  It’s clear, of course, to any objective observer that Lee still holds out hope that he and Caroline will get back together, making Jesse and Caroline’s betrayal all the more painful and their initial romance all the more exciting, as this early scene from the film illustrates.  Once Lee discovers that Jesse and Caroline seem to be falling for each other, he leaves, which quickly leads to an uneasy tension between Jesse and Caroline.  Once their relationship is no longer a secret, the excitement fades.

One of the things I most enjoyed about Texas Snow was Coffman’s attention to the way that twentysomethings communicate, the late night confessions and revelations that usually take place several hours (and usually several beers) after most sane people have fallen asleep.  This conversational, rambling pace has led both Hollywood is Talking and Rogue Cinema to view the film’s pace as plodding, and I don’t think that’s quite right.  The pacing, underscored by Keegan DeWitt’s score, in fact recalled David Gordon Green’s lyrical All the Real Girls (which I wrote about on my old blog).  I do think the film stumbles in a couple of places.  The shift in the nature of the relationship between Jesse and Caroline is a bit too sudden and dramatic.  Perhaps more crucially, Caroline is presented fairly unsympathetically here.  As the Rogue Cinema review points out, she seems as if she is doing little other than playing games with the men she dates, and I’m not sure the film is attentive to her reasons for not wanting to settle down with Lee or Jesse.

That being said, Texas Snow is a well-crafted film.  The cinematography is quite good, and Coffman is content, in places, to simply allow the camera to observe, to capture subtle details of a space, such as an apartment or an art gallery.  The twentysomething characters certainly brought back memories of my own late nights during graduate school, and I think Coffman is attentive to the nuances of character and dialogue, and I hope to see more work from Coffman in the near future.

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