The Comedy That Sheds New Light On Open Relationships

"Permission" by Brian Crano explores what would happen if a solid couple suddenly opened their relationship.

We tend to believe that the ideal of love or relationships is finding that perfect person for us and stay together forever. Moreover, we tend to think that in order for this perfect scenario to happen both have to be attached in that kind of monotonous, and sometimes asphyxiating, thing we call monogamy. But what if the best thing for your relationship is actually expanding your horizons, to be willing to try other things and meet other people in order to strengthen your relationship? That’s the question the dramedy Permission poses, leading us to wonder whether monogamy is the ideal relationship style or not.

Directed by Brian Crano, the movie tells the story of Anna and Will, a couple that's been together since high school. After literally years and years of relationship (they’re both in their thirties), Will is about to propose to formalize (even more) their relationship. However, things change after a friend raises the question of whether they're sure they're meant to be since they've only been with each other and haven’t experienced anything else. This leads to suggestions of meeting other people and having sexual encounters with others. Eventually they decide to try an open relationship.

As the story progresses we see both characters having encounters with new and different people. What’s interesting about the film is that it doesn’t demonize open relationships nor does it tell us that the only way to be happy in a relationship is monogamy, but that at the end of the day communication is the key. Yes, they start having issues with the situation but at the same time what seems to be a more serious issue is the lack of communication that starts happening between them.

Of course, the movie isn’t perfect at all. The narrative tends to imply that Anna and Will are the lead couple and that the story actually centers around them. However, when looking at it closely they’re not really the center of the film. Remember the friend that put the whole story in motion? Well, he’s Reece the partner of Anna’s brother, Hale. Their story plays a very important role in the overall movie and actually, this is for me what’s more valuable about the story. They’re not portrayed as the funny gay couple that works as a comic relief, nor as sidekicks of the protagonists. Their story is as complex and deep as Anna and Will’s (perhaps even more). 

Hale and Reece have been together almost for as long as Anna and Will, but more than believing in an everlasting relationship, as Hale says at some point, they believe in forging a relationship for as long as love lasts. However, Hale somehow doubts the stability of their relationship when he starts getting obsessed with having a baby but fears that Reece would not jump in with the idea. That secret starts becoming an issue in the relationship when Reece starts doubting Hale, and at the same time, the latter believes that confessing his wishes might break the relationship.

At the end of the day, this isn’t the best movie in the world, probably it isn’t even close to being called that way. But it’s a refreshing story that goes out of the established and outdated patterns of what and how relationships should be. It gives other possibilities by showing us that it doesn’t really matter what type of relationship you’re in as long as you base it on communication and trust, which is something we all should follow.


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María Isabel Carrasco Cara Chards

María Isabel Carrasco Cara Chards

Articulista Bilingüe CC+