From the film’s first frames, Reisz shows his imaginative side. An early montage sequence rapidly cuts between shots of Aron abruptly falling down slapstick-style in various places, though no one around him seems to notice (in voiceover, after having explained that he’s been dumped, Aron gives a supremely concise and dry explanation: “I’m dead”). Not much later, his group of guy friends (played by real-life friends of the director) is introduced, with each stating his profession, income and relationship status directly to the camera, making it clear that Eszter was practically the only thing keeping Aron from feeling inadequate. Though Aron normally doesn’t drink, a Facebook photo of Eszter canoodling with another guy results in a wild night out. Their binge is even responsible for sending the protagonist to sunny Portugal a couple of weeks later, courtesy of an online-shopping-under-theinfluence incident with his parents’ credit card. But before he leaves, a female bus conductor with a funky name, Eva Ink (Kata Bach), catches his eye during a routine ticket check, suggesting he might be actively trying to get over his ex. Of course Aron has an irrational fear of random ticket checks, so finding her again simply to talk to her takes him on another adventure.
If the film, which was also written by Reisz, might at first feel like a heterogeneous collection of scenes and ideas, there are several binding elements that keep it from rambling too much. Firstly, there is the undeniable if nebbishy charm of the protagonist, with his unkempt hair, wire-rimmed glasses and constant two-day stubble. It helps that he’s played to perfection by Ferenczik, who manages to look both insouciant and heartbroken, sometimes at the same time.
Because of Aron’s fruitless search for a post-university job — his mother has grown so frustrated she’s even rewritten his resume in ways only a mother could — and his conversations with peers about whether it might be worth moving abroad,
the film feels very much anchored in contemporary Hungary, despite its occasional cinematic flights of fancy. And the film’s second half shows that Reisz planned ahead carefully, as many initially randomseeming scenes, such as a video-quality flashback to poor picked-on Aron in high-school, actually pay off later. Throughout, the tone of the film is admirably elastic and incorporates both documentary-style footage as well as totally unrealistic and very whimsical shots that nevertheless make sense emotionally, such as when Aron is followed down the street by a long line of Eszters, as if she were literally haunting him. A Gondry-like sequence sees Aron follow an electric wire from his parental home and through town that finally enables him to unplug his bickering parents (they’re still discussing the cost of Aron’s air ticket).