Le Moyne Needs Luddite: Movie Review

The smell of overly greased popcorn and the smacking of clamoring lips welcomed me as I walked into the Palace Theater last Wednesday night. People leaned on the counters, contemplating what candy to buy, while others blocked the theater entrance as they chatted across the archway. The energy was palpable and I was happily surprised at how packed the Luddite premiere was.

After finding my seat, I instinctively pulled out my phone to find entertainment until the movie began. When the lights dimmed, the film moved into a montage of Le Moyne students hypnotized by their devices and all of a sudden, the picture zoomed in on my face as I hovered over my laptop in The Den. At that point I became acutely aware of the phone in my hand and immediately turned it off, shoving  it towards the bottom of my purse.  

Luddite follows Danny, played brilliantly by Tom Vazquez, as he tries and epically fails to win the affection of his classmate Emma (Gabrielle Procko). You see, Danny has an issue: His phone is a permanent extension of his arm. He lives through Facebook and Instagram, and even when he’s in the middle of making a real human connection he can’t help but look at his phone—I mean phones. He has three. After Emma calls Danny out for paying more attention to his phone than her on their first date, he gradually becomes more aware of his problem. With the encouragement of his friend Vic (Siobhan Shea) Danny joins Luddite, a club on campus started by Emma that helps students develop healthier relationships with their devices and learn how to be present in life.

Directed by Cameron Hill and (screenplay) written by Chelsea Balan, Luddite lives in its humor and reflection. Through Danny’s obsession, the audience is forced to reevaluate their own technological relationships and whether they prevent them from properly interacting with the life happening around them. There were moments when the pace slowed down and more serious conversations were had, but they moved quickly and sometimes felt awkward. While they were needed for the development of Danny’s character and his growing relationship with Emma, the constant laughter in the theater indicated that we all wanted to ride Luddite’s comedy wave.

Every actor managed to wholly embody their character and let them breathe, even without being a constant presence in the film. Vazquez was basically flawless, seamlessly moving from one comedic moment to the next with the help of his ever expressive face and it was hard to imagine anyone else playing Danny. Newbies such as Procko and Renard Harris, who played Brad, brought a freshness and relatability to their characters that felt genuinely them. In fact, some of Harris’ best moments were when he wasn’t even talking, just dancing in the corner with a paddle. Same goes for Procko whose most glorious moment in the film was the kissing scene. I used to think Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson at the 2009 MTV Movie Awards was the most awkward kiss I had ever witnessed…until I saw Procko pucker her lips and dive in for a kiss.

Le Moyne Makes Movies gave birth to a smart and thoughtful film that was wonderfully shot and edited. It not only read the social skills of millennials and Gen Z like a tell-all book, but showed just how much talent resides at Le Moyne. The film will have a second screening on May 10 at 7 p.m. in Reilly 244 and you better believe I’ll be there—this time, without my phone.

*For all of you wondering, a Luddite is a person opposed to increased industrialization or new technology