The Incredible Shrinking Wknd, directed by Jon Mikel Caballero and screening at Fantasia Film Festival, is a modern and charming take on the cinematic trope of time loops a la Groundhog Day. With his first feature-length film, Caballero demonstrates his knack for storytelling through an engaging story about love, self-discovery, and growth. Although his film doesn’t have the most original concept, it has its own unique spin, making it a clever and intriguing setup.
The Incredible Shrinking Wknd follows six friends, all in their 30s, on a weekend getaway to a cabin in the woods. More specifically, the focus is on Alba (Iria del Río) and her relationship with Pablo (Adam Quintero). The first night of the trip, Pablo abruptly breaks up with Alba, much to her shock and dismay. The next day, she finds herself reliving the exact same day: she and her friends arrive at the cabin, and then her boyfriend breaks up with her. Once she has gotten over her initial shock and confusion, she discovers that the breakup was the inciting incident that has thrown her into a time loop. At first, she lavishes in her ability to do whatever she wants with no consequence – she breaks up with Pablo before he can break up with her, she drinks, smokes, parties – but soon realizes that the time loop is becoming shorter and shorter with every repetition.
As the film progresses the central theme of personal growth rings loud and clear. At the start of the film, Alba is seemingly uninterested in the lives of those around her and is a little bit of a mess. She is still living with her father and clings to her youth in lieu of embracing adulthood. As the time loop continues and grows shorter, she begins to take notice of the problems of her friends and starts to work to not only improve her relationships with them but improve herself as well.
The film’s biggest flaw is that it does not fully live up to its potential. Primarily, it fails to take advantage of its supporting cast. We learn little to no information about who Alba’s friends are beyond things like their occupations, as they are hardly utilized in the story outside of plot exposition. Perhaps this is a reflection of Alba’s self-oriented worldview that she is attempting to overcome, but it reads more like an unfortunate narrative mistake. Even Alba’s boyfriend, Pablo, with whom she is attempting to rectify the relationship has little development or personality. It makes it challenging to root for his and Alba’s reconciliation, as there is little substance to their relationship.
Regardless, The Incredible Shrinking Wknd will keep you at the edge of your seat as the time loop continually grows shorter and shorter with every passing day, as Alba’s own journey of personal discovery and growth is compelling, if not fully explored to its potential. The film definitely does have its stumbles as it rushes to its finale, but you can’t help but feel invested in Alba’s increasingly dire circumstances.
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Ezra Farner is an undergraduate student attending Southern Oregon University to study graphic design and film. In his free time, he enjoys watching movies, writing, playing video games, and wasting time on Twitter.