Quentin Lee's "Drift" is a tender and acutely personal exploration of the breakup of a three-year relationship that culminates in the filmmaker offering three possibilities of the path the lovers' lives take afterward. By the time Lee has set up his story and played out his different scenarios, he has left us with a sense of what it's like for young people to discover the possibilities, the limitations and unexpected twists and turns of love.
Ryan (R.T. Lee) is a nice-looking Chinese Canadian living in L.A. and working in a coffee shop while trying to make it as a scriptwriter. He's in a comfortable relationship with Joel (Greyson Dayne), who designs Web sites for the Gay and Lesbian Center. Ryan is passionate about his writing, literature and movies, while Joel is an ordinary guy with ordinary tastes who continually tells his lover he thinks too much.
One day, Ryan meets a fellow Canadian, a 20-year-old student named Leo (Jonathon Roessler) who shares his interests with the same intensity. Now Ryan can no longer deny he's long been unsatisfied with his relationship with Joel despite their mutual love. It is at this point that Lee imagines different fates for Ryan and Joel. In doing so, he raises a variety of possibilities. What if Ryan, after a fling with Leo, discovers he is still in love with Joel, but that the discovery has come too late? Or what if both lovers have flings and both discover that they're in love with each other, with Ryan realizing he's underestimated Joel and Joel agreeing to be more open to all that Ryan cherishes so dearly?
Lee explores these possibilities with equal credibility, which has the effect of underlining how difficult it is for people to know themselves fully, let alone others. In this light, Ryan commands respect for being honest with himself and Joel, and for not settling for a relationship merely because it is comfortable.
"Drift" is a slender, intimate tale that is thoughtful and revealing, nicely written, directed and acted. Desi del Valle's Carrie and Sebastien Guy's Matt are Ryan's best friends, both caring, sympathetic and encouraging. It is a worthy follow-up to Lee's larger-scale debut feature, the jaunty dark comedy "Shopping with Fangs."
Unrated. Times guidelines: adult themes and situations, some language, some sex.
Desi del Valle...Carrie
A Margin Films presentation of a DE/Center Communications production, produced with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. Writer-director-cinematographer Quentin Lee. Producers Bella Yurkovetsky, Quentin Lee. Music Steven Pranoto. Editor Suan Toon Yeo. Production designer Deeya Loram. Running time: 1 hour, 26 minutes.
Exclusively at the Fairfax Cinemas, Beverly Boulevard at Fairfax Avenue, L.A., (323) 655-4010.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times