DVD: Keep the Change

STUDIO: Kino Lorber | DIRECTOR: Rachel Israel | CAST: Brandon Polansky, Samantha Elisofon, Jessica Walter, Will Deaver, Nicky Gottlieb, Tibor Feldman
RELEASE DATE: June 19, 2018 | PRICE: DVD $21.89, Blu-ray $22.99

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

A surprisingly effective, bittersweet romantic comedy with serious moments, Keep the Change is an indie triumph not only for what it achieves but how it achieves it.

Debuting writer-director Rachel Israel tells the story of an engaging, roller coaster-ride-of-a-relationship experienced by David (Brandon Polansky) and Sarah (Samantha Elisofon), twenty-somethings who meet at a support group at the Jewish Community Center on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

David wears sunglasses and a blazer most of the time, acts cool, tells off-putting jokes and fancies himself a filmmaker. Sarah is perpetually chipper, bursts into song spontaneously and has a penchant for having sex with any male she meets.

Oh, yes. They are both autistic, on-screen and in real life.

The relationship between these two lonely  people is peppered with obstacles  stemming from their personal issues as well as forces outside trying to keep them apart—like David’s upper middle class mother (Jessica Walter, The Flamingo Kid) and father (Tibor Feldman, Arbitrage), who are concerned with David getting involved with Sarah because of her condition and her family’s less-than-desirable financial situation.

What adds an extra level of knowingness and sensitivity to the proceedings is the life experiences of both lead actors. This is truly fiction grounded in reality.

Filmmaker Israel balances the proceedings beautifully, steering away from potentially maudlin material (where it can easily land at times). This is a film about a truly awkward romance that uses its awkwardness to underline its humanity.

Based on Israel’s own a 2013 short of the same name that featured the same leads, Keep the Change won some major awards at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. This winning, disarming film also received generally fine reviews although it got limited theatrical play, mostly in film festivals. It’s an unusual offering, but a real charmer that’s worth seeking out.

The extra package on the Blu-Ray features deleted scenes, the original short film and a post-screening film festival Q&A with the actors and director.

Buy or Rent Keep the Change

About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.