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The '90s Comedy Hidden Gem That You Can Stream On HBO Max

In addition to frosted tips and Beanie Babies, low-key character-driven indie comedies were a major trend of the 1990s. If you're curious to revisit one of the best examples of that particular genre, you should kick your sibling off the phone, fire up your dial-up modem, and surf the net right on over to HBO Max.

"Walking and Talking," which is currently available on the streamer, was the first feature film from Academy Award-nominated writer-director Nicole Holofcener. It stars Catherine Keener and Anne Heche as lifelong friends Amelia and Laura who, during the action of this lived-in comedy, find themselves at an uncertain moment in their lives. Amelia is perpetually single and feeling unsure of what she even wants from a relationship. Meanwhile, Laura is recently engaged but finds herself attempting to sabotage what would otherwise be a happy coupling. Of course, throughout all their romantic drama, the friends are also navigating their most important relationship: the one they share with each other.

Although the film received rave reviews when it came out in 1996, it didn't make too big of a splash outside of the indie movie scene. However, time has been kind to "Walking and Talking." Although the film is intrinsically tied to the decade it was released in, in recent years, critics have discussed how timely many of its characters and themes ultimately are.

The timeless qualities of Walking and Talking

In 2003, just seven years after "Walking and Talking" was released, Entertainment Weekly put the film on their list of the Top 50 Cult Movies. That is an accurate bellwether for how the film has been remembered as the years have gone by.

In a 2016 retrospective of the film for Slate, Dana Stevens both praised the movie's craftsmanship, as well as its enduring qualities. "'Walking and Talking' now has the added beauty of seeming like a time capsule from an era we didn't realize was about to end," she wrote, adding, "when walking and talking and falling in love and breaking up and growing up happened at a different rhythm—a rhythm mediated, as ours is now, by the technology available to us."

Jesse Hassenger of AV Club said "Walking and Talking" is "like the margins and in-between moments of a rom-com, full of throwaway conversations and moments of doubt" while writing about the film as part of a series on directorial debuts. He concluded by noting, "Despite its hallmarks of the bygone era ... 'Walking And Talking' maintains a low-key freshness and charm two decades on."

Similarly, Kelsey Miller wrote about the film's timeless qualities in an essay for Refinery29. She argued, "It says the things we just can't (and maybe shouldn't) say to each other ... It is an arrow to the heart of every woman who has watched a friend step off their shared path ... It stings us all with equal measure, because we have each been both that friend who walks away and the one left behind."

You can currently catch "Walking and Talking" on HBO Max.