Premiering recently at the Galway Film Fleadh, The Randomer is a heartwarming and emotional comedy about love, relationships and motherhood. Set in the heart of Dublin, the story follows Meg, a lecturer who is at a crossroads in her life and who finds herself increasingly torn between what her heart and head are telling her, and what she has grown comfortable with until now.
Seemingly happy with her inner city plush apartment and laid-back, self-satisfied boyfriend Teddy, the arrival of a same sex couple next door and their newborn baby sees Meg begin to question what she wants out of life. Written by Gerard Stembridge and directed by Naji Bechara, Caoimhe Clancy and Iseult Imbert, the film boasts an incredible line-up of homegrown talent and is anchored by a star-making turn from George Hanover in the central role.
The confident, self-assured woman we meet at the start of the movie, with a seemingly carefree outlook on life, begins to slowly let the audience in, and it’s testament to the great script and undaunted direction that Meg’s vulnerability is so slowly exposed and the facade peeled back. While Hanover has to work at winning the audience over, her gradual growth and softening are ultimately what make the payoff so much more gratifying.
Surrounding her are a host of wonderfully crafted characters that she crosses paths with on her journey, not least of whom are her offbeat neighbours who help Meg hatch her scheme. Charming and instantly likeable, this duo are the driving force behind much of the film’s off-kilter comedy.
While the script for the most part hits all the right notes, there are some pacing issues that slightly hinder proceedings. Too much time is spent on Meg and Teddy early on in the movie and conversely not enough on Ray, the titular randomer who becomes integral to Meg’s life in the latter half of the film. And funny as it is in parts, it’s the heartfelt, quieter moments of the story that engage so much more.
In an era when film productions are increasingly under scrutiny for gender inequality, it’s refreshing to see a story that plays so heavily on the themes of relationships and motherhood and is carried with such ease and light, affecting humour by a main cast of brilliantly realised female characters. The Randomer may not be the outright comedy it sets itself up to be, but the heartfelt story that drives it is still a rewarding and tender experience that deserves to be seen.