Davy entame une tournée à caractère littéraire avec son jeune frère dans le but de promouvoir son roman. Il effectue alors diverses lectures ou conférences et signe des dédicaces. Un soir, il reçoit un appel d’une certaine Nicole dans sa chambre d’hôtel. Celle-ci crée avec lui des liens intimes mais virtuels. Les appels se succèdent et Davy s’attache à cette femme qu’il désire bientôt rencontrer.
Graphic mainly in terms of language, the film deserves to find a home with a specialty distributor skilled in addressing those inherent can’t-judge-a-book-by-its-cover challenges. Originally taking the form of an autobiographical 2006 GQ article by Davy Rothbart, the neatly expanded feature centers on a road trip taken by the withdrawn Davy (an intensely vulnerable Brian Geraghty) to promote his as-yet-unpublished novel. Accompanied by his decidedly more forward, younger brother, Sean (Kel O’Neill), Davy’s uneventful tour of dusty bookstores and college campuses takes a surprising turn the night he answers a ringing phone in a fleabag motel and “meets” Nicole. Initial distrust of the sexy voice on the other end inevitably turns to lust and then, curiously, into an odd emotional bond that serves to drive a wedge in the already-strained relationship between the brothers. Avoiding any predictable broad strokes, director-writer Alvarez and his rooted cast (also notably including Marguerite Moreau as an ex-girlfriend of Davy’s whose desire to rekindle their brief relationship ends in humiliation) instead delineate some of the finer truths regarding love, sex and loneliness.
Its silences can often be just as fabricated too. Unlike European film silence, unfazed by its possible awkwardness and length, these are silences akin to laugh tracks. They can be measured like ingredients. Yet the film makes its way out of this formulaic logic from which it stems, to find its politics elsewhere. The introduction of one element of strangeness, a kind of surreal unveiling, in this tableau of privileged melancholics is enough to turn certainty into chaos—and it’s delicious to watch it collapse. Easier with Practice knows that extracting authentic vulnerability from puritanical white bodies can be an impossible project. So it ultimately decides to let the silences do the talking. And they finally feel real.