Film Review: DINA (USA 2017)

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Dina Poster
Trailer

An eccentric suburban woman and a Walmart door greeter navigate their evolving relationship in this unconventional love story.

DINA is a romantic comedy combined with the element of the documentary.  It follows the real life romance (bliss and troubles; warts and all and a lot of warts at that) of a real life couple Dina Buno and Scott Levin.  They are not the flashy Hollywood type romantic comedy couple but everyday normal looking folk.  They are decent looking but not overtly attractive.

Dina is an outspoken and eccentric 49-year-old (she looks younger) living in suburban Philadelphia.  She had a past marriage and a bad accident which has resulted in her living alone and not wanting to settle down again.  But things never go as expected.  Dina falls in love with Scott (as seen wen the film begins) who seems a decent and loving and simple guy working as a Walmart greeter.  She invites her fiancé Scott, to move in with her.  Scott has never lived alone.  Having grown up neurologically diverse in a world blind to the value of their experience, the two are head-over-heels for one another, but shacking up poses a new challenge.

Though they constantly whisper sweet nothings to each other, their awkwardness is also present.  This is observable during their short holiday trip to Ocean City, as Dina has never seen the ocean before. Other events shot in the film include Dina’s racy bachelorette party and on honeymoon in the Poconos.

One wonders at the authenticity of parts of this documentary – when an incident is re-enacted or on-the-spot.  The best example is the one with the couple on the bus arguing as they are lost.  Is the cameraman sitting behind them on the bus filming their predicament as it happens, or is this a set-up?

The film hints of Dina’s previous marriage and the problems associated with it.  That relationship seems more intriguing than the one on display in this film.  To make the film more interesting, the problem of sex is introduced into the relationship.  All romantic comedies have a problem that the couple faces which they will overcome.  Scott is uncomfortable with touching and being affectionate, thus posing a problem as Dina who is very compassionate.  The camera follows them as they often argue and bicker.  The odd thing is that Scott always agrees with Dina but never proves himself.

DINA is brightened up by occasional musical interludes made up of popular tunes like “I am a Lady” and “We are Family” as well as songs written and performed by Michael Cera.

DINA, about a not so perfect couple with a not so perfect romance ends up a not so perfect movie.  The question is whether audiences would want to spend 90 minutes and hard earned money watching something too ordinary.  The film will be a tough sell.  Audiences want to go to the movies to escape from their humdrum lives not watch one on screen.  But the film did win the Grand Jury Prize at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, which might be the reason the film got distribution.
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4BSWA7pWuc

 

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