Press Play – Film Review

Directed by Greg Björkman in his directorial debut, Press Play is a romantic drama film that stars Clara Rugaard, Lewis Pullman, Lyrica Okano and Danny Glover.

Set in a small beach town, Chloe (Lyrica Okano) sets up her best friend, Laura (Clara Rugaard) with her stepbrother, Harrison (Lewis Pullman) who works at a local record store, Lost & Found. Laura and Harrison start dating, and they begin to make a mixtape together by adding songs as their romance progresses.

When Harrison suddenly passes away, Laura listens to the mixtape and soon finds out that when she listens to a song from the tape, she can travel back in time to visit Harrison in the past. She tries to warn Harrison to save him from passing away but when she returns to her timeline something changes, so she must try to fix her timeline as well as Harrison. Laura will need help from Harrison‘s old boss, Copper (Danny Glover) along the way.

Press Play does have a cheap kind of quality to it that makes it look like a ‘made for TV’ movie. If you had of asked me at about the halfway mark, I would have told you that it had been competently made. But there are two separate scenes in the last act of the film where the boom mic is clearly visible in the top of the shot, and while I understand that this is Greg Björkman‘s debut film, I feel like that this is the type of mistake that someone should have noticed sooner and could have tried to crop it out during editing, or they could have done a retake.

I can’t say that there was any breakout acting performances. The acting was mostly the same across the board with most of the actors delivering their lines in a monotone style, which is where the comparisons to a made for TV movie or even a soap opera came from.

In a film that involved time travel, I actually found the parts of the film where Laura is travelling through time to be a little bit tedious. Even though she is trying to save Harrison and the stakes should have been higher, I just didn’t feel as invested as I thought I should have been. I know that the film is a drama, but I think I might have enjoyed the time travelling aspects of the film if there was a little more sense of fun or at least some tension, so there is a sense of importance each time she travels through time.

Press Play is a film that does have some redeeming qualities though. Such as the idea of a time travelling romance film, which is something I haven’t seen before. I also enjoyed the concept of the mixtape being used as a time machine, which as a music fan, I found to be a very interesting and clever.

I would have liked it if the music itself in the film played a more important role in the story, as it is the mixtape that enables Laura to travel through time. However, the song choices don’t seem to make any difference, nor does it provide any additional meaning to the narrative. This could have been a great opportunity to introduce new music artists to the table, or have songs specifically written and composed to go with the story.

Press Play is a film that mixes romance with time travel. While the concept is clever and the film may appeal to some, I believe that Press Play misses the mark more often than it hits it.

Press Play will be released in cinemas across Australia from the 28th of July 2022.

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