Diggsy has always been in love with Suzette and after she breaks his heart by marrying another man a mysterious stranger offers him a key that opens doors into parallel universes where other versions of Suzette may love him back. We review director Motke Dapp’s high concept romantic comedy Another Version Of You.
Another Version Of You uses parallel timelines to explore the different possible relationships between Diggsy and the ‘love of his life since diapers’ Suzette, who at the beginning of the film has just married another man. There is also a maguffin involved in the story, a key that when used to open doors, allows Diggsy to step through into another multiverse to find another Suzette. There is a simple test to determine whether this high concept plot can work and that is “are the timelines we see interesting in themselves?” If they are not, then no amount of time travel jiggery-pokery can help save it, fortunately there are so many different timelines throughout the 90 minutes that even though some moments don’t quite hit their mark, we never stick around long enough for them to spoil our enjoyment of what is a very good and entertaining movie.
A fantasy hybrid of Gwyneth Paltrow’s 90’s film ‘Sliding Doors’ and virtually every Richard Curtis rom-com ever made ‘Another Version Of You’ gains a lot of credit with me for actually having some edge, some tension and some actual high stakes. One of the many criticisms levelled at Richard Curtis films, an undeniable influence on director Motke Dapp here, is that his comedies are very self-indulgent, twee and feature a lot of posh rich people moping around, who are difficult to relate too. Not so with this film.
From the opening big band intro scenes, we are fully invested in these characters; Diggsy, played by Kristopher Wente, begins the film heartbroken and pathetic and we immediately want to give him a hug. Wente is great in the role, exuding warmth and likeability even in Diggsy’s most pitiful moments. He is surrounded by an excellent batch of multi-layered supporting characters, his sister Dawn (played by Britany Belland) just wants what’s best for her brother, a stand out performance comes from Sara Antonio as Suzette, Diggsy’s sweetheart. She has so many different incarnations to play that it’s a dream role for any actor and she knocks each characterisation out of the park.
All the cast are good, but I must single out the role of waitress Gwyneth (A Sliding Doors reference I assume?) played by WWE Diva CJ Perry. Perry is a revelation in this role, like Suzette she appears a number of times throughout the film and each time she has a huge impact on both the overall story arc and the characters’ development. She fills the screen with her charisma and with a gesture here or an eye-roll there she is able to showcase both beauty and brains using simple nuances and line deliveries. By making a couple of interesting choices in her acting career I believe CJ Perry could become a real bonafide movie star.
Now back to that edge, tension and high stakes, do you remember the Maguffin? Well, this magical key has one major catch. Once Diggsy uses it to open a door he can never return to the same world again. It is this small but integral plot point that helps Another Version Of You stand out from the crowd of independent movies that are made every week. We are no longer in innocent and easy rom-com territory here, we are in a much darker place. Diggsy’s choices and interactions with the people of these different worlds now have consequences and these consequences are far more frightening than chasing someone in the rain and quoting David Cassidy songs to them.
Writer / Director Motke Dapp has written an intriguing screenplay via clichés and formulaic rom-com setups, spattering the script with some amusing and even laugh-out-loud moments (the Matrix gag is a favourite). His direction is perfectly paced, the style and the format is very rom-com centric and along with the fantastic cinematography would not look out of place on the multiplex. Dapp knows exactly what he is doing and where he is going with this film and it shows. I expect big things for him.
A great movie with a great cast, Another Version Of You should be held up like a beacon as to what independent film making is all about. Aim high and shoot even higher, creating originality from the predictably unoriginal. If you love film you should seek this one out immediately and if you can’t find it on your first try, open a few more doors until you can.