It’s easy to see why the Duplass brothers (Mark and Jay) wanted to produce Megan Griffith’s “I’ll Show You Mine” (Gravitas Ventures).
It’s as talky as (if not more so) any of the mumblecore movies in which the brothers began their film careers. Additionally, it shares the intimacy of Mark Duplass movies such as “Language Lessons” and “Humpday.” If that’s not enough, actor Casey Thomas Brown could easily pass for a much younger Duplass brother.
Over the course of nine “chapters,” from “Discovery” to “Culmination,” Nick (Brown) and his aunt-by-marriage Priya (Poorna Jagannathan) talk (and talk and talk) with the purpose of a book project to be written by her all about him. Nick, a “briefly famous” model as Nicki, experienced a “big rush of fame” when he came out as pansexual in 2012. Nick gained more fame with a red-carpet stunt when he got naked in front of a bank of paparazzi. Priya also had some fame of her own as a writer, authoring a well-received memoir.
Now married and a father of two kids, Nick supposedly supports his family by illustrating sexually graphic comics. Priya, married to Nick’s uncle Aaron, is still trying to recapture the success she had with her first book. Fortunately, she was able to get a deadline extension for the new book, but it’s obvious that flaky Nick is not going to be an easy subject.
Drawing on memories from their respective pasts (Nick convinces Priya to take part in the sharing of intimate details), they fill in the blanks of their lives, getting better acquainted. Some of the details are shocking (when friends of Nick’s parents babysat for him, they used to take baths with him), raising questions about whether they were victims or survivors of their childhood traumas.
Consumption of alcohol and pot leads to even more intimate revelations involving incest, sexual experimentation, emotional masochism, and the real current source of Nick’s income (his father is pimping him as an online escort). There are also expressions of gratitude and forgiveness. But all of that comes to a sudden and abrupt end when Priya discovers Nick’s unforgivable act of violation and betrayal.
Before the credits roll, the words “In loving memory of Lynn Shelton” appear on the screen. It’s hard not to wish that a movie dedicated to the late, acclaimed filmmaker (“Your Sister’s Sister”) was better than “I’ll Show You Mine.” The fact that it took three (!) screenwriters to come up with this script, combined with Griffith’s claustrophobic direction doesn’t work in the movie’s favor.
Gregg Shapiro is the author of nine books including the poetry chapbook Refrain in Light (Souvenir Spoon Books, 2022). An entertainment journalist, whose interviews and reviews run in a variety of regional LGBTQ+ and mainstream publications and websites, Shapiro lives in Fort Lauderdale with his husband Rick and their dog Coco.