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Radical Honesty
Epoch Films

Movie Reviews

[SXSW ’22] ‘Radical Honesty’ review: funny short film about a short relationship

Less hush-hush.

Radical Honesty is a glimpse into what seems like a cute first date. Jack and Rachel are at a diner, and when they’re contemplating taking their date to Rachel’s house, Jack discloses that he’s in an open relationship. It’s easy to imagine this conversation really happening among millennials or Gen Z-ers just about anywhere in the USA. As people break free of monogamous relationship structures, open relationships and polyamory have become more commonplace – or at least, less hush-hush.

Rachel, played by writer Allison Goldfarb, has progressive ideas about women’s bodies and the patriarchal structures and expectations that we are all taught from a very young age. She’s eager to break the mold. Jack (John Hein) nods along as she talks, looking a bit like Eric Forman; you want to think that he’s a nice guy. A bit of a hipster, but a nice guy.

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As Jack explains his open relationship to Rachel, she’s cool with it. The date seems like it will go well, but it quickly goes south as Jack “checks in” with his partner, and Rachel realizes that Jack is all talk. He’s not about breaking free of monogamy and the structures that have “kept us all unsatisfied”; he’s about his own satisfaction — and he doesn’t really seem to care about his partner’s feelings.

Visually, Radical Honesty keeps us focused in on Jack and Rachel, despite the busy diner setting they’re in. Director Bianca Poletti has a clear vision here, with a nostalgic color scheme and intriguing introduction sequence. Goldfarb and Poletti plan to make Radical Honesty into an episodic anthology of shorts, each centered around a couple in LA.

This format works; this little peek into Jack and Rachel’s date makes you want more of whatever Poletti and Goldfarb have to offer next. Whether you’re on dating apps or looking for a new relationship model or not, it’s the kind of content that most people will either be able to relate to, or learn from.

In the case of Radical Honesty and Jack and Rachel’s date, there’s a lesson to be learned. Whether you enjoy watching Radical Honesty because, let’s face it, it can be really fun to watch bad dates, or you enjoy it because of the window it gives into new relationship structures, it’s a fun film. As open relationships and polyamory become more common, so do people like Jack who say the right things to get what they want.

Radical Honesty makes it’s world premiere at SXSW ’22 on March 12, 2022. 

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