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Buffalo Niagara Film Festival: Selected Review – Learning to Ride

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Writer/Director Michael Hanley’s assured independent drama Learning to Ride tells the story of Abby (Camille Stopps) and Ryan (Aaron Chartand), two lovers who are reunited through a chance encounter almost a year after they decided to go their separate ways. As a series of disjointed memories of their first love reemerges, the film explores how the two reconnect as they wonder what went wrong between them and whether they’ll ever know that kind of happiness with anyone else again. Hanley’s direction proves very assured for a first time filmmaker. Aided by a strong team behind the camera, they bring a high level of production value to the independent feature. Learning to Ride also benefits from two standout performances from the leading actors, who prove remarkable at realizing Hanley’s well-observed and insightful screenplay, despite how familiar the material may seem on paper. The end result is an intimate, honest, and moving film about love and relationships.

Learning to Ride will be playing at the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival this Sunday, April 12th, at 7pm at the Tonawanda Castle.