Review: Static Space

Written and directed by lead actress Kate Black-Spence, co-directed by John Klein, Jamie is a young woman living in rural Indiana struggling to figure out her place and identity. When she inadvertently stumbles across a frequency on her ham radio and makes contact with astronaut Noa (Mariah Copeland), who is currently orbiting Earth.

A gentle sentimental atmosphere surrounds the opening of Static Space, even before it reveals its sweet nature, you know there’s something wholesome on the way. Then when Noa’s voice appears over the radio it brings through a great sense of mystery. It then blossoms into a touching connection between her and Jamie (Kate Black-Spence), which naturally evolves into romance. It’s paced well to move quite quickly in how it builds their relationship. It’s also intriguing how that mystery stills lingers in the background, leaving a possibility that this may not work out which helps to prevent the story from becoming predictable. There is still a certain level of predictability, as with pretty much any romance story but it in no way stops you from enjoying this film. In the end, even if you know where it’s going, it will still bring a tear to your eye in how heart-warming it is.

Visually, it comes across mostly as you’d expect which is not a bad thing because Kate Black-Spence, and John Klein’s direction is solid throughout. It’s fairly intimate, taking place mostly in one location but adding in a bit of variety here and there. Although, it’s the editing work (by Alison Klingler) which is more unexpected, the way it’s cut together feeds into that sci-fi feel. It adds an element of risk to an otherwise wholesome story, opening up a number of possibilities. Outside of that, it plays things in a simple and sweet manner, matching the tone of the story and embracing its highly sentimental side.

Kate Black-Spence and Mariah Copeland come together in this story to not only create romance but interestingly, to also explore mental health. They bring in themes of isolation and loneliness, and how sometimes it takes an outsider’s perspective to make you appreciate your life more and embrace the little things. Given that the majority of the film has Black-Spence on camera and Copeland just coming in over the radio, the two build a chemistry that surpasses that boundary, it’s no hinderance to their combined charm to not be in the same place. They’re incredibly endearing to watch and their connection feels unquestionably genuine.

Static Space brings to life a charming lesbian love story, with an unexpected and unlikely connection which blossoms into a delightful journey. Kate Black-Spence is on quadruple duty here, writing, directing, producing and starring, and she brings an endearing warmth which comes through on all fronts. It’s hard not to use the word sweet repeatedly because that’s exactly what it is, as well as being touching and heart-warming. Black-Spence and Mariah Copeland work extremely well together and create a romance which is very enjoyable to watch. It’s not easy to create genuine romance but this team has managed to do so with plenty of charm and hope.

Verdict: ✯✯✯✯ | 8/10

Screening as part of FirstGlance Film Festival & Iris Prize 2022 on 15 October

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