August at Twenty-Two

Just out of college, Cal Davidson (Ali Edwards) is trying to make it as an actress in New York City, she and aspiring singer/songwriter best friend Bobby Cortez (Jorge Felipe Guevara) forming their own dual support system.  But when she’s invited to a party by Jacob (Clay Singer), the ‘soul mate’ she hasn’t seen for a while and harbors feelings for, she kicks off a series of bad decisions in “August at Twenty-Two.”

Laura's Review: B

Director Sophia Castuera and writer/star Ali Edwards make their feature theatrical debuts with a small but relatably honest film about stumbling into adulthood.  This is a well written, well acted, nicely shot production whose flawed central character keeps us on her side even as she exhibits selfish tendencies.

That can be what happens when one aspires to one’s dream, whether it be professionally or romantically, and Cal seems to make the wrong choice every time.  Obviously hoping to reconnect with Jacob at his party, she’s shocked to be introduced to his girlfriend, Emily (Lilli Kay, TV's 'Your Honor,' 'Yellowstone'), yet continues to sidle up to Jacob.  We see her practicing in her studio apartment (how refreshing - NYC living space that looks realistic!) and stuttering through an audition, her reaction to meeting a college friend with an actual acting job less than charitable.  Then she gets a call from Emily, a photographer, asking her to model and she thrills to the attention – both professionally and, as it turns out, romantically.  When Jacob and Emily’s gang celebrate Emily’s gallery show featuring Cal’s photograph and Bobby shows up late, Cal asks him to change, then doesn’t wait for him when the party calls a Lyft to go clubbing.

Cal’s life gets even messier at a party in the suburbs, so much so that she has to call her dad to drive her home the next day.  Their conversation on the ride back to the city is telling, Cal reverting to high school snippiness as dad warily probes.  Back in the city there are fences to be mended, but all will be right with the world over shared bubble teas.

Edwards, who’s appeared mostly on television, has gone the DIY route presumably writing what she knows and given herself a plum role in the process, one that she navigates confidently as a character finding her way.  The supporting cast is solid across the board, Guevara talented and touching as the overlooked loyal friend, Kay exotically intriguing as the more worldly Emily.  Castuera keeps the whole enterprise well paced amidst multiple well chosen locations, she and Edwards in sync with their filmmaking vision.  “August at Twenty-Two” is well worth seeking out as the debut of some promising new talent.

Robin's Review: C+

"August at Twenty-Two" will be available digitally and on VOD from Gravitas Releasing on 7/25/23.