The movie centers around a man (named, if you can't guess, Harris Malden) who for much of his life has drawn his facial hair. In the shelter of his community on Franklin Street in Philadelphia, this is all well and good; there is a silent agreement among Harris' friends and neighbors to never, ever bring it up. It's left up to Harris' best friend, Paul, to keep him from venturing out of the neighborhood, but when Paul can't keep the outside world -- in the form of his obnoxious girlfriend, Susan -- from intruding on Franklin Street, Harris has the very existential crisis that Paul has spent his entire life trying to prevent.
This is not just a movie about a man and his mustache. I found a lot of different themes running through this movie -- truth, community, the nature of friendship -- but the one that I could relate to most was change. In one of my favorite scenes, Harris says to Paul's grandmother that he feels like he's still talking about the good times he's had in the past, while everyone else is trying to move forward. I think that this is something everyone goes through at some point; I certainly did when I went off to college, in between losing touch with old friends and making new ones. And that, in a nutshell, is why I enjoyed this movie so much. I'm a sucker for films that take a completely off-the-wall premise, and manage to say something meaningful with it.
Now, on to my post-movie experience. Ben Davidow and Eric Levy were both on hand to answer questions after the screening, and they had quite a few interesting things to say. Here's some of what I learned:
Many, many thanks to Ben and Eric for coming out and talking to us, and to the Rowan Honors Film Series for sponsoring this event.