It would be easy to watch writer/director William Lu's romantic drama Comfort and chalk it up to being a modest variation of Richard Linklater's Before films, though such a comparison, while understandable, only scratches the surface of this modestly familiar yet winning film.
In the film, Christopher Dinh is Cameron, a lonely and mild-mannered young man who is seemingly content running around the dark streets of Los Angeles as a late night courier for Eddie (Billy Sly Williams). One night, a particularly important client, Martin (Kelvin Han Yee), asks Cameron for a particularly special airport pick-up - his daughter, Jasmine (Julie Zhan). Reluctantly, Cameron agrees and is surprised to fairly quickly discover that there's a bit of a spark between he and Jasmine. While Martin keeps himself busy at the office and at the expense of his daughter's attention, Cameron and Jasmine share a quiet night of interesting conversation and touring some of Cameron's favorite L.A. spots. However, Cameron soon discovers that Jasmine is harboring a secret that could destroy her father's trust while, yes, Cameron has his own secret that could very well derail this budding romance.
While Comfort is, indeed, a familiar story and film, Lu brings it delightfully to life in no small part due to the natural, incredibly believable chemistry between the laid back and infinitely likable Cameron and the charismatic Jasmine.
Comfort has had quite a bit of success on the film festival circuit picking up prizes at Worldfest Houston (Silver Remi, Best Dramatic Feature), VC FilmFest - Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (Best Actor for Dinh), and DisOrient Asian American Film Festival (Best Feature Film). Indeed, one of the truly notable things about Comfort is its intelligent and rich portrayal of its Asian-American characters, unfortunately still too rare in a Hollywood that seems to thrive on stereotypes. Comfort is refreshingly devoid of unnecessary histrionics, save for the mild drama over Cameron's skin condition that is ultimately his reasoning for working at night. Even in this case, it's all played in a low-key, human way that complements the character quite nicely and naturally.
The film, which is available for viewing now on Amazon Video by clicking on the trailer above this review, is the complete package - a simple yet well told story that is directed with confidence and discipline and is incredibly well acted and produced. Scott Gilman's original music companions the film comfortably, while D.P. Aashish Gandhi's lensing is intimate and comfortable.
Comfort isn't the kind of film that will blow you away, but it is the kind of film that will entertain you and leave you feeling better after watching it than you did before. Honest and sweet, romantic and authentic are all descriptors of this true indie gem.