You know you are in indie-land with the opening of Nate and Margaret, where we find our two title characters gleefully passing an afternoon in a Goodwill shop. And it's clear that only Nate can appreciate the outrageous beauty Margaret finds in a meerkats statue that she discovers there.
Despite its premise, nothing feels pretentious in Nathan Adloff's no-budget story of a gay, 19-year-old film student (Nate) whose best friend is a 52-year-old standup comedian-waitress. Not even the relationship feels off, or surreal in that Harold and Maude way. They're two misfits who find solace in each other.
That's because the performances are natural and pitch-perfect. There's Tyler Ross's sweet, soft-spoken Nate, whose bond with his beyond-middle-age buddy starts to change when he starts seeing his first real boyfriend. And Natalie's ultra-frumpy Margaret puts a sardonic front on her pain: she's a hoarder (with a weakness for kitschy mugs) who is clearly afraid of intimacy with men because of abuse she suffered as a child.
Set against a deadpan landscape of soul-sucking drunken student parties and three-quarters-empty comedy hours at coffee shops, Nate and Margaret looks and feels understated and cool-without-trying. It's one oddball little find you won't want to miss--kind of like the meerkats statue.
Vancouver Queer Film Festival presents Nate and Margaret on Saturday (August 18) at 7 p.m.
Watch the trailer for Nate and Margaret.