The Lionshare: Joshua Bernhard

09Feb10

by The Great White Gypsy


You can get anything online these days. It started out as pictures. Then music became available. Then movies. Now you can get food, entertainment, conversation, and sex without even leaving your house. The Irony is not lost on me, then, as I am reviewing a film about online file sharing. Which I downloaded.
God Bless America.
The Lionshare, Joshua Bernhard‘s first effort in filmmaking, is about a 20-something guy in New York who meets a girl online. They get together for drinks, and during a conversation about a file sharing site called The Lionshare, she admits she’s never seen Ghostbusters (travesty!) After a failed attempt to rent it, and a subsequent sexual encounter, he promises to check out a band on the site. For the next hour, we watch him hanging out with his indie-musician friends and downloading songs to add to a mix for his one night stand.
That may seem like a boring premise, but the movie is very well done. As far as mumblecore films go, this one has a much more patient cinematography. Even though it comes in at a quick 65 minute runtime, the story is broken up between shots of the sunset over Brooklyn and random montages of people walking around with headphones on. Bernhard very subtlety yet very clearly and unpretentiously shows us a contradiction in society. With our websites and our ipods, we are a disconnected society. Yet what we all have in common is this earphone-induced isolation.
In contrast to the work of the Duplass brothers and Andrew Bujalski, the cast in this film is a bit younger. With everyone in their early 20’s, the dialogue seems a little more natural and carefree. Maybe I don’t have friends like that now, but I did Sophomore year of college. The jokes cracked and issues discussed lend themselves to an image of youthful hope, rather than the meandering and jaded dissatisfaction of the soon-to-be-thirty-somethings that dominate the genre.
The music in the film is also interesting. Though it doesn’t stand very well on its own (I checked out a lot of it online), it fits the tone of the movie pretty well. The Lawnchairs, The Lillapucians, and The Assembly Line might not be bands you’ve ever heard of, but in a story based on uber-indie music, that’s kinda the point, right?
My only problem with The Lionshare is the ending. Not that it’s bad. It’s just vague in a way that could either make you hate it or love it. In the midst of pining for this girl via music downloads, the main character uploads his friend’s demo (his friend is actually a small time musician playing himself), which causes some problems between them. I won’t give away any of the “twists” or the ending, but one of the final lines is, “We knew how this would end.” I can’t tell if this is a statement about their relationships and personalities, or if it’s a statement about file sharing and internet piracy. In my opinion, that’s too fine of a line for an indie movie to end on.
If it’s the latter, Joshua Bernhard can send me a copy of the DVD, and I’ll send him a check. BEAR FACT.
Final Grade: B-

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One Response to “The Lionshare: Joshua Bernhard”


  1. 1 THE LIONSHARE « New review from ’sexy gypsy’

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