“Permission” Is A Comedy Of Errors About An Open Relationship

by Sarah C. Epstein

Directed by Brian Crano
Out on February 9, 2018

Anna (Rebecca Hall) and Will (Dan Stevens) have been a couple since childhood. Just turned thirty and on the brink of starting their adult life together, they decide to put their commitment to the test, sleeping with other people for the first time in either of their lives. Simultaneously, Anna’s brother (David Joseph Craig) and his life-partner (Morgan Spector) struggle with the decision to become parents.

Written, directed, and produced by Brian Crano, the film follows Anna and Will’s flailing attempts at maintaining their relationship while pursuing casual sex. It’s less a romantic dramedy, and more a comedy of errors as both couples struggle to communicate honestly with each other and their other partners; although lighthearted and enjoyable, at times it evoked the same cringing feeling that occurs when you watch someone wipeout.

The type of non-monogamy Crano presents resembles what only a person deeply committed to monogamy would conceive of. (At one point, there is a heavy-handed, slightly pedantic attempt to distinguish open relationships from cheating.) While it’s refreshing to see a romance that portrays options outside of monogamy as valid, and advocates for self-autonomy in favor of commitment, it works best as a tale about what communication errors to avoid when pursuing an open relationship. It did, however, do a nice job of defying gender roles by replacing a conventional straight couple with a conventional gay couple. 3/5

Top Photo from Permission

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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