Life in Los Angeles isn’t the glamorous spectacle the world imagines it may be. Whether dealing with imposter syndrome during your creative struggles, working an unpredictable Uber shift to pay the bills, or juggling the ups and downs of the dating scene, the average valley dweller (That’s San Fernando Valley for those outside the sunshine state.) is struggling, like everyone else, to find fulfillment, purpose, and true love. Chasing Sunshine, written and directed by Darren Coyle, focuses on Darcy and Jack, two residents of the SFV who band together to solve a mystery and find themselves on a wacky adventure that will change their lives going forward.
Chasing Sunshine sees Darcy (Kassie Thornton) join forces with Jack (Trevor Penick), the boyfriend of her beautiful, but selfish, roommate, to solve a mysterious scavenger hunt filled with clues from a secret admirer. Along the way, Darcy and Jack meet strange fellow residents of the valley, reveal personal doubts and insecurities to one another, and truly bond as friends. In the end, the answers waiting for them at the conclusion of the scavenger hunt are, much like their current lives in Los Angeles, not at all what they expected.
Coyle’s film is light and quirky, with an upbeat and fun-natured tone throughout. Thornton’s Darcy is a bold and joyful personality who balances out Penick’s more cynical Jack, and the evolution of their friendship over the course of the film feels quite genuine. Coyle’s script touches on both the bizarre and the introspective, in many ways accurately portraying Los Angeles/Hollywood culture that focuses on an envy of the lives of others, image over substance, and the manufacturing of a personality. Every character in Coyle’s story has some malady or flaw and is struggling to achieve something they seem to feel is just out of their grasp. While there were several scenes I wished could have dug a bit deeper into exploring these themes, Coyle does manage to wrap the entire thing in an easily digestible narrative that doesn’t sag or slow down, instead, consistently building to its final moments.
Ultimately, Chasing Sunshine will probably be most enjoyed by those who’ve walked similar paths to its cast of characters. The “adventure” of following Darcy and Jack on their hunt is relatable enough to the average moviegoer, but the details of this film speak to those creative souls pounding the pavement day after day, convincing themselves not to give up on their dreams, over and over again.
You can view the trailer for Chasing Sunshine by clicking here.