Close Quarters @ Montreal World Film Festival

Coffeehouses draw people from all walks of life. Whether it’s for a simple coffee to go or a couple of lattés and scones shared amongst friends, such places make for interesting conversations amongst staff and clients alike.

“Close Quarters” takes a glimpse into the lives of Barry and Abby, two baristas working in a Chicago café. Barry is in love with Abby and has hopes that she will say yes to his marriage proposal on her birthday. Abby, however, is not ready to get into a serious relationship with him, especially after he makes some comments about another couple that don’t sit well with her.

On the evening of her birthday, Abby gets stuck working the evening shift as two of her co-workers call in to say that they decided to get married the same evening. Meanwhile her friends are planning a surprise party for her and Barry is planning a surprise proposal.

As the evening unfolds, various types of people come into the coffee house. Two couples where some cheating is going on, two lost souls, a therapist running a session with two clients on the internet, a couple of elderly men reflecting on life and two groups of friends having a variety of discussions.  As all these people’s stories unfold, the two baristas observe and listen into the conversations taking place, getting immersed in the drama of it all. As the café is about to close, Barry prepares to pop the question, not knowing what Abby will say.

This film’s premise is an interesting one as the possibilities for conversations are endless. The selected stories were interesting but sometimes felt like they were dragging a bit. Some of the characters were interesting, some, less so. A bit more humor might have helped to hold one’s attention.

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