Pet Names Review: Starting with a fanciful image of Leigh (lead actress and screenwriter Meredith Johnston) wandering through an empty landscape of a small town beyond a carnival ending the night, Pet Names, directed by Carol Brandt, is a a triumph of self-discovery, even if it is the prey of the usual tropes. The peculiarity of its protagonist hides a deeper pain and the film actually offers emotional blows between laughs and a story about the art of dating an old friend. In his best life, Leigh, at first glance, is perhaps the dream girl of the manic elves, who offers extravagant observations such as “guacamole is not a condiment” and finds joy in the pug of his former boyfriend, after which they collaborate. The worst love song possible. These moments occur in a film that offers deep depth under the usual jokes and tensions.
Johnson is a captivating presence with natural charm, rooted in the cynicism of her protagonist Leigh, a blonde hip with underlined pink hair who takes time to take care of her dying mother, Laurie (Stacy Parish). After having traveled through several places and met familiar faces of the past, Leigh confronts Cam (Rene Cruz), a former boyfriend living in a kind of suspended state, and asks him to give a few dollars for something. Grass They reconnect on a camping trip, first testing things as friends, offering their services as haulers before deciding it was a desperate cause. Creating a space for both characters to live and breathe, Brandt’s misdirection and Johnston’s bleak scenario transcend the typical relationship drama infused with realistic baggage. Leigh emphasizes that worrying about the end of life is like “seeing someone rot on the floor” in the most tender passage of the film while contemplating its own mortality.