Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List (2015)
“At some point, we have to let go.”
Synopsis from IMDB: “Naomi and Ely have loved each other their whole lives, even though Ely isn’t exactly into girls. The institution of a “No Kiss List” has prevented the two from rifts in the past, but bonds are tested when they both fall for the same guy.”
I started out thinking this film had a lot in common with a film I watched last year with a similar theme, I Love You Both. Although the main characters fall for the same guy and seem pretty codependent, there are some distinctions that make the story different.
In No Kiss List we see energy and character development. Although it starts out slowly, we mainly are seeing Naomi grow from someone who is like her mother, in denial with the sheets up over her head, to someone who is more self-aware and less surface level. It’s almost like the inner monologue that we hear in the beginning isn’t actually of the moment, but more of a hindsight narration. She knows she lies to herself and isn’t ok with Ely being gay – not in a homophobic sort of way, but more of a I have feelings for him.
I like that the film gives us some background into Naomi and Ely. The fact that they’re ridiculously codependent comes from their circumstances living next door and their parents’ marital issues. They’ve relied on each other for so long that they’re not sure what to do apart. However, like all Lifetime movies, they must learn.
In the beginning of the movie, I didn’t find either of them very likable. Naomi says she lies a lot. They both appear cliché, surface level, and unaware. They seem younger than they are. An example is when Naomi goes on a date with Bruce 2 and Ely comes along. That’s wrong on multiple levels. I can see how it makes sense in the story, but it makes them both look naïve and inconsiderate.
Of course, a boy comes between them, and they have to figure out where that leaves them. It seems that one of the biggest issues they have (besides a betrayal) is letting go of the fantasy they both participated in about how their lives would be together. They’re not going to get married in the fort they built upstairs.
Watching the trailer after seeing the film, I have to say it does a good job of summing the whole thing up. The story line is fairly predictable, although the actors do a nice job of working with what they’re given. The music was appropriate (especially the lyrics to the songs), although sometimes I felt like the music was a little She’s All That. Overall production values were good – except for a weird camera angle that occasionally distorted what was on the edges of the screen. (One guy’s head looked too thin).
I like the overall message of the film that sometimes you have to be willing to let go of things in order to move on. Sometimes it’s not easy or straightforward. And there is a comparison in there between friendship and romance, and I’ll end with how Naomi sums it up:
“It’s bullshit to think of friendship and romance as being different. They’re not. They’re just variations of the same love, variations of the same desire to be close. And like any love, it’s difficult, awesome, treacherous, exhilarating, confusing… and precious.”