Shithouse Movie Review
So there’s a movie called Shithouse that shouldn’t be called Shithouse because, you know, it’s actually one of the better movies of the year.
About a college student who is struggling with separation anxiety and attempting to navigate early adulthood on his own, the horribly titled drama is a surprisingly engrossing experience. Written by, directed by, and starring Cooper Raiff, with Dylan Gelula as his co-star, Shithouse immerses it’s audience into the lives of two extremely likable if flawed individuals who, by cosmic circumstance, are thrust together one night after a party at a fraternity house nicknamed… you guessed it.
Shithouse is propelled by Raiff’s earnest performance. It isn’t the kind of performance that turns head, but he is understandably all in on the material and delivers a believable, emotional and, yes, awkward performance as an awkward freshman. It’s his first feature length performance, and it’s a good one. Gelula, the more experienced actor, is terrific. Her character is befuddling to Raiff’s as she seems to be fighting her own internal battles, with Raiff’s feeling the collateral damage; it’s a challenging if understated role that she tackles head on.
The movie shifts seamlessly from lighthearted moment to serious arguments and back again, a credit to Raiff’s writing and ability to capture the reality of life. Shithouse never attempts to be melodramatic or larger or louder than it is capable; Raiff remains laser-focused on the two lead characters and lets them play off each other to great effect.
Though the title is presumably meant to represent the main character, I would have given this movie nearly any other name. For Shithouse is far from shitty; in fact, it is downright shit-free.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.