Written by: Julia Siegel
Quadruple threat director, actor, screenwriter, and song writer Zoe Lister-Jones closed out the Montclair Film Festival with her hilarious new film, Band Aid. The film was a great choice to close out the festival, as it balances comedy, drama, and music perfectly. Lister-Jones, who also produced the film, participated in a post-screening Q&A film festival executive director Tom Hall. The film brings together her passions of music and filmmaking, much like what Patti Cake$ director Geremy Japser did.
Band Aid follows married couple Anna (Lister-Jones) and Ben (Adam Pally) through their ups and downs with navigating their rocky relationship. When they realize all they do is fight, the couple decides to start a band and sing about their fights to relieve the stress and anger. Along with odd neighbor Dave (Fred Armisen), the trio finds the healing powers of music, hence the title. Lister-Jones and Pally have fantastic on-screen chemistry for two people who didn’t know each other prior to making the film. Their characters developed nicely throughout the narrative, which showed that Lister-Jones is a good writer. Armisen is his usual crazy self and adds an extra layer of comedy to the film.
The film is supported by a great cameo cast. The core of the film is about how relationships always are in need of constant repair, which, according to Lister-Jones, is why the film starts and ends with something in the house leaking. She said that she wanted to create a story that would be fun to write and really liked the idea of couples fighting, as it is something that everyone deals with. The story is very relatable, and Lister-Jones wanted to dissect the topic in a fresh and funny manner. She definitely accomplished her goal because the film is as hilarious as it is clever in talking about serious topics.
Band Aid also discusses the differences between the way men and women think to get the relationship struggle theme across. The conversation does help to further develop the plot and to understand the struggles of the characters. As music is also a big factor in the film, Lister-Jones wanted the audience to know that all of the music in the film was performed live. She felt it was important to film the live music because it gives the film a better sense of authenticity and reality. She wanted the imperfections of live performance to shine, as the story highlights the imperfections in the characters’ lives.
The film was a highlight of the Montclair Film Festival and will hopefully resonate with audiences everywhere. The relatable story, cast chemistry, comedy, and funny songs make Band Aid one of the best films I have seen this year. Lister-Jones showed that she has some serious creative chops with her directorial debut, and I will definitely be on the lookout for her future projects. Band Aid will start its limited theatrical release in New York City and Los Angeles on June 2nd.