Zosia Mamet Stays True To Her “Girls” Roots In “The Boy Downstairs”

by Erika W. Smith


Zosia Mamet made a name for herself in HBO’s Girls, playing Shoshanna, an awkward, charming twentysomething living in Brooklyn and looking for success in love and her career. In her new movie, the Boy Downstairs, she plays…an awkward, charming twentysomething woman living in Brooklyn and looking for success in love and her career. But there are a few differences.

In the Boy Downstairs, Mamet plays Diana, a young woman who has just moved to New York and reunited with her best friend Gabby (Diana Irvine) after living in London for a few years. She’s working in a bridal boutique, but her real passion is writing fiction. After moving into the perfect (huge, beautiful, yet somehow affordable??) apartment — and befriending the kindhearted and kooky landlady, Amy (Deirdre O’Connell) — Diana discovers that her ex-boyfriend Ben (Matthew Shearer) lives downstairs.

At first things are extremely awkward between Diana and Ben — especially because Ben is now dating Diana’s uptight broker Meg (Sarah Ramos) — but of course, that changes. Director Sophie Brooks tells the story of Diana and Ben’s first romance and first breakup in flashbacks, set between scenes that slowly move their second romance forward. It’s an interesting take on a romance plot, but while Ben is definitely cute, he and Diana have no real chemistry — I didn’t particularly care why they broke up or if they’d get back together, which meant that the story as a whole didn’t hold my interest. And there’s no comedy to go along with in the romance — the few laughs there are come from Diana’s friendship with Gabby, and a satisfying subplot about Gabby finally deciding to end things with her fuckboy friend-with-benefits is the best part of the movie.

The Boy Downstairs isn’t a great movie, but it shows promise for both Brooks and Mamet — I’d love to see more from them both. 2/5

top photo: The Boy Downstairs

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