A young woman facing a quarter-life crisis makes the impromptu decision to invite her estranged ex-boyfriend (and his dog) on a fateful camping trip In this insightful indie dramedy.
After putting grad school on hold and moving home to nurse her mother through chemotherapy, twenty-something Leigh (Meredith Johnston) is stuck in a rut. At the behest of her mom, Leigh reluctantly agrees to take a break from playing caretaker to go camping and decides to invite her ex-boyfriend Cam (Rene Cruz) on a whim. With Cam’s adorably pudgy pug in tow, the pair set off for several days of hedonistic fun in the Wisconsin woods. Leigh and Cam have the easy rapport of people who have known each other forever, but beneath the in-jokes and sarcastic banter lie a host of unspoken resentments and lingering romantic tension. Spurred on by several bottles of whiskey (and other controlled substances), Leigh and Cam find that they’ll have to come to terms with their complicated past if they have any hope of getting along in the present. Director Carol Brandt makes the most of the bristling chemistry between Johnston (also the film’s screenwriter) and Cruz, who perfectly embody characters that are both recognizably flawed and deeply sympathetic. Small in scale yet deeply moving, PET NAMES is a sharp, refreshingly honest take on the growing pains of young adulthood.
CAST: Meredith Johnston, Rene Cruz, Chuck Norment
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