New from Al and Linda Lerner on Movies and Shakers: Inside the Rain

This movie is an off-beat romantic comedy focusing on a bi-polar young man who can’t get out of his own way. Although engaging, sometimes, Writer/Director Aaron Fisher’s script can’t get out of its own way. This is Fisher’s first feature (TVs Single and Baller) which he admits is semi-autobiographical. He plays Ben, a mid-20’s student, who is having hard time dealing himself, dealing with relationships and women during his second attempt at college.

Fisher (managed to cast good actors in two key roles. Rosie Perez plays Dr. Holloway, who he goes to after a near suicidal overdose caused by his misreading intentions after a one-night-stand. He angers easily and acts out. His repeated suicide attempts get him suspended.

He goes to a strip club to lick his wounds and becomes obsessed with sex worker, Emma, (Ellen Toland) whose body is used there as a sushi buffet. Ben is enamored and gets in trouble defending her from some threatening males outside the strip club. But they strike up a friendship. 

Dr. Holloway claims she can cure him in 6 weeks. Perez is engaging as a sarcastic, but caring therapist who really sees Ben as a nice guy with issues, but head strong. Ben is a film major who decides to prove his innocence by making a bizarre movie to get reinstated. Fisher does a good job showing the roller coaster emotions someone with bi-polar often express. Fisher shows Ben to be pretty high functional who freely expresses his feelings. 

Eric Roberts is Montgomery (Monty) Pennington, the over-the-top bust-out producer living in a garage who agrees to help Ben make his movie. Roberts is a riot with his big toothy grin ready to get back in lights, camera action mode on this very important project. Ben casts Emma to star in his movie. Toland was cast after Fisher received 5,000 for the role. We found her sweet and cute but very understated for the role. 

The most charming scenes are with Ben and his parents. We loved Nancy and David (Catherine Curtin and Paul Schulze). They understand their son and are patient, understanding and even cute, especially when they meet his new friend, Emma. They are so tickled and accepting of this new girl who Ben proudly tells them works at a strip club. 

Fisher certainly has some talent. There’s a lot of swearing and disturbing behavior, but, clearly, you’re trying to root from him. Fisher had Benjamin from The Graduate in mind as the model for his character, but writing the script, which took 4 years, he always came back to writing more about himself. 

Aaron Fisher’s first attempt is by no means a great piece of filmmaking. But  illuminates well the struggles of people with mental illness. Every character in this film is open and honest. There’s some interesting character development. Ben is so off beat and likable. Inside the Rain gets you inside Aaron Fisher’s head. He grows on you as he grows in this film.

Act 13          1 hour 30 minutes            R 

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