Jeff Lipsky is a seminal figure in independent film distribution, having helped bring the work of such now-revered directors as John Cassavetes and Mike Leigh to broader audiences. Though still a distributor – putting out recent films such as “Barbara” and “Sister” — he has over the past few years ramped up his output as a filmmaker himself.
Putting aside his business sense, he has set out to write and direct a series of idiosyncratic, slightly perverse and personal films. With the latest, “Molly’s Theory of Relativity,” Lipsky presents a story with a theatrically heightened sense of reality (it could easily be a play), as the action is mostly confined to an apartment as a young couple decides whether to stay in the city or decamp for an exotic locale.
As other characters (some real, some seemingly metaphysical) flit in and out of the apartment, the couple — played by Sophia Takal and Lawrence Michael Levine — has to decide what really matters to them. Takal and Levine are real-life partners and the creative force behind indie films of their own such as “Green,” and they bring an unusual energy to their parts, at once pitched and natural. (It doesn’t hurt that they are both good looking and willing to get undressed.)
At times, Lipsky’s storytelling is too cutely self-aware, trying too hard, making “Molly’s Theory of Relativity” something of an intriguing, if not entirely successful, exoticism.
“Molly’s Theory of Relativity.” Not rated. Running time 1 hour, 42 minutes. At the Laemmle Royal Theater.