The Best People

2018 Dances With Films

Directed by Dan Levy Dagerman, The Best People (2017),starts with a novel premise: The best man and the maid of honor team up to sabotage the wedding of an ideally matched couple. What sort of people would come up with such a diabolical scheme? Will they succeed or will they discover something more important about themselves? It’s a dark comedy that tackles serious issues. In perpetual crisis, Anna (Anna Evelyn Joy) remains stuck on the first step of a twelve step program. To call her a train wreck or a hot mess is an insult to train wrecks and hot messes everywhere. By contrast her blonde baby sister Claire (Claire Donald) has done everything right, from good grades to good job and gets engaged to nice guy Johnny (Johnny Cannizzaro). For some unfathomable reason, Johnny enlists his roommate Art (Arthur Napiontek), studly handsome but a cynical drunk, as his best man. Against Claire’s better judgment, she taps Anna as her maid of honor. What could go wrong?

Writer/Producer Selina Ringel explores themes about sibling rivalry explored in Rachel Getting Married (2008) and Trainwreck (2015) with new twists and complications. At the Dances With Films Q & A, she noted her surprise when “some people weren’t happy for me” when she married young. That was one inspiration, another was having a sister herself. She was also “writing about abandonment and acceptance,” two of the major themes of what became The Best People.

It’s no coincidence that the lead cast shares the names of their characters. She’d worked with the actors before and wrote it with them in mind, “not who they are but how they speak.” Donald and Evelyn Joy spoke about how quickly they were able to find the nuanced sister dynamic and how director Dagerman gave them the space to do that.

Music by Juan Carlos Enriquez, Cinematography by Dawn Suhyun Shim, Film Editing by
Christopher Young, Production Design by Lauren Ivy, Art Direction by Monika Dovnar, Costume Design by Rob Saduski

Co-stars in the excellent ensemble cast include Kyle Trueblood, Ivana De Maria, Charley Rossman, Bianca A. Santos, Ella Evans, Brittany S. Hall, Max Decker