Completely Normal teeters on the edge of charming and downright creepy in a way that's admirable, thanks to its memorable performances that help even out the film's complicated approach to the subject matter.
Robert Vornkahl‘s Completely Normal is a sweet and awkward little romance that holds one of the most memorable performances out of the 2015 Twin Cities Film Fest. I’m talking about Seth Kirschner‘s sweet, yet almost creepy Greg and Jenny Grace‘s complex and uniquely explored Gwen.
Both characters help give Completely Normal a fresh vibe as director Robert Vornkahl approaches the typical romantic comedy with a dash of darkness and a touch of creativity in terms of developing characters that aren’t just awkward and sweet, but layered with their own set of complications.
The film follows Greg (Seth Kirschner) as he so desperately tries to find a girlfriend that he can cling onto and maybe eventually marry. Greg isn’t the most social of butterflies, which makes his interactions with members of the opposite sex a sometimes troubling endeavor that he tries his best with.
His only real friend is his father, who also pokes at Greg’s lack of interaction, but in a way that’s still somewhat supportive.
Everyone else just doesn’t seem to understand Greg, which makes him constantly feel the need to cling onto something or someone.
That someone comes in the form of Gwen (Jenny Grace). Gwen’s not your typical catch either, struggling internally as she battles a split personality disorder that too leaves her feeling alone and unwanted, with the only real friend in her life being her sister.
Gwen’s sister is constantly nagging her and seeing Gwen more as a chore than a sister, which leaves Gwen feeling more alone and without hope to someday get better.
Both Greg and Gwen have their interesting quirks, but that’s what makes Completely Normal feel like everything but. The way director Robert Vornkahl approaches both characters is fresh and far from judging, focusing more on their need and want to feel loved or needed.
Vornkahl could have sold Greg as a creepy stalker, but instead he sells him as a charming soul that might get a little too obsessive when he finds someone that he really likes. And Seth Kirschner portrays Greg perfectly, making almost everything that he does awkward and absolutely outrageous at some points.
Greg is an oddball without a doubt, but his intentions are good, despite his sometimes questionable decisions to take things a little too far. It’s more funny than it is creepy, yet it carefully balances between both in a way that works.
Jenny Grace‘s Gwen might be the most complicated part of the film, because director Robert Vornkahl chooses to present her multiple personalities through multiple actors, which is initially a bit confusing, but slowly reveals itself as a unique and risky decision that mostly pays off.
The problem isn’t that Gwen is split up among different actors, but instead how the writing infuses her multiple personalities into the story. Sometimes the film shuffles into predictable territory that fails to really dig in and explore this mental disease, while other times the film does a splendid job developing the romance and reminding us that not everything is as cut and dry as it appears.
I applaud Vornkahl and his cast and crew for taking Completely Normal and making it something special and different. The film’s ending might not satisfy everyone completely, but it does a fine job connecting the film’s central relationship, even if it leaves more to be desired.
Completely Normal is an excellent example to show how great the 2015 Twin Cities Film Fest is, because it’s a festival that strives on bringing unique content to the Twin Cities in a variety of formats and genres.
Seth Kirschner might have the most memorable performance of the Fest so far, with the film itself remaining a solid effort at taking the awkward romantic comedy and attempting to change everything about it, yet still follow the sub-genres structure and format with a dark sense of humor.
Robert Vornkahl‘s debut feature might not be perfect, but it presents a vision that strives to be unique and yet still intimate by tackling the complexity of one’s own life in a way that’s both awkward and funny.