Movie Reviews

‘Permission’ Review: An Indecent Proposal


Quick Take: In the new film Permission, a young couple is challenged in the strength of their love by friends, and accept that challenge by seeking new lovers. The end result forces some uncomfortable conversations and ideas about what love really is.

The new film Permission, now open in very limited release, presents a very interesting proposition. A 30-something couple, played by Rebecca Hall and Dan Stevens, are madly in love, and have been since college. In fact, they are sweethearts and have each only been with the other, sexually. One night, their friends challenge that love by asking how they know if their love is real if they’ve never been with anyone else.

This forces Anna (Hall) and Will (Stevens) to question their feelings, and they each decide to go out and seek out other lovers, as they believe that their love is strong enough to survive the “hall pass.” Anna quickly meets and hooks up with Dane (Francois Arnaud), a musician, and Will meets Lydia (Gina Gershon), a wealthy divorcee. These trysts begin adding pressure to the once-solid relationship and starts to create rifts that could become insurmountable. In the end, will love win out, or will the young couple realize more about themselves?

Permission Review

Permission asks some very tough questions from the audience, and writer-director Brian Crano pulls no punches. Much like the film Indecent Proposal did in the ’90s, Permission presents a solid case for testing love, but as the couple’s gay friends (played by David Joseph Craig and Morgan Spector) constantly ask, “is this really a good idea?” In fact, the gay couple has a side story dealing with Hale’s (Craig) desire to have a child, and Reece (Spector) not wanting to disrupt their own fragile relationship. And somewhere in all this drama is Jason Sudeikis, who plays an exhausted newly-minted father who offers advice to Hale at the dog park while holding his infant son.

Brian Crano’s direction is solid, and his use of creative lighting throughout the film elevates what could very well be a Lifetime movie-of-the-week into a cinematic experience. Permission is also pretty raw in the dialogue and in some racy sex scenes. It gives the film some gravitas of realism, and the performances by the four leads are very strong, with Morgan Spector shining brightest. Gina Gershon also proves that she’s still a force of beauty on-screen, as she steals every scene that she’s in.

Permission Review

Permission is probably not the best date movie out there right now, but opening in limited release against Fifty Shades Freed, it offers a unique, if not troublesome alternative to the fetish fantasy that Fifty Shades is, and could force couples not wholly secure in their relationships to question themselves and their actions. This could be good or bad, and that is for you to decide if those questions are worth the price of admission.

Permission is rated R and in open in select theaters and available in various digital formats.

SCORE: 3.5 out of 5

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