Fool’s Gold revolves around Tyler, an aspiring writer who starts out pretty unambitious in his pursuit. But it all changes when his father cuts him off and he’s forced to take responsibility for his life. In search of a breakthrough, Tyler gets a little lost on what truly matters in life, as they often do.
His character is an immature twenty something. Early in the movie, his dad cancels his credit card, forcing him to live on his own. We get this information through a narration, and by voice acting alone, Tyler still shows signs of entitlement, especially with the line : “He’s got plenty of money…” as if failing to understand why he can’t keep living off of his father. At 8:20 he tries to show nonchalance as he breaks the news to his girlfriend, which then morphs into slight anger when his voice trembles a little.
But anyway, he decides to take his work seriously afterward. During a conversation with his boss, Tyler has hopeful eyes (19:10), they’re slightly glassy, like a child hoping for a compliment. He uses his eyebrows movement to indicate a change of mood. His scene partner is also really good, he plays the senior man testing his young protege with easy confidence, making Tyler’s inexperience more pronounced.
Tyler has a girlfriend, Claire. At 31:47, both actors’ natural chemistry with each other is apparent. When actors inject natural playfulness into their acting, it feels more real. The not-so-obvious touches, the occasional slip out of characters and most importantly, eye contacts.
Back at work, Tyler is starting to get out of depth. The scene from 34:27 to 35:21 where he’s explaining his idea, he talks so fast and stumbles on his words because his boss makes him pitch a story on the spot. In his eyes you can see he’s unsure, but Tyler steels himself and says it anyway. The amused look on his co-worker at the back is a nice touch to highlight the awkwardness of the situation.
When he confides in his friend later, Tyler seems to know something isn’t right, when he explains that he feels like a prostitute (39:15 – 39:21), he looks disgusted – his brows are knit tightly together, like he can’t bear the thought.
At work, he’s getting exhausted. At 44:17, Tyler’s sleepy eyes and tongue clicking as he’s typing feel very relatable. At 44:20 the exhausted look is more apparent as the eyes and mouth are downcast.
Still, his work is not good enough. At 52:44 when Tyler is given an ultimatum, the look of hopefulness in his eyes immediately turns into befuddlement, visible especially when the eyebrows go down. There’s a subtle shift in his gaze.
At 54:38 the yearning all but vanishes, it’s desperation, fear, confusion.
Things are not rosy with Claire as well. He catches her chatting with another guy. At 56:35 when Claire just brushes him off, he averts his gaze, unwilling to accept what he’s just heard. It feels like more than just the situation at hand, it’s as if all his recent failures flash in his mind.
When Claire brings up his stalling work, at 57:42 he looks away, hiding the pooling tears. Tears are just as effective when held back as when it freely flows, it makes the sadness feel more restrained in certain situations.
Tyler gets called by his boss, who’s trying to help him out of his funk. At 59:55 Tyler starts with a hint of a smile when he’s articulating his love for Claire. At 59:59 his nose crinkles, indicating that trouble is brewing.
At 1:00:09 he flinches when remembering an unpleasant memory about Claire. At 1:01:24 his brows furrowed as he took in his boss’ advice.
At 1:01:55 the whole body projects the emotion too : Tyler’s hands open outward, driving home the point of how much he likes her.
“What does it mean to be a man?” asks his boss.
1:02:20 Tyler’s head is down because he cannot answer. And when he looks back up, it’s no longer optimistic – he is desperate for help. The mouth is slightly pursed. I gotta give props to the boss here, he has a few minutes long monologue and delivers it with such believable conviction. You’d believe why Tyler looks up to him at that moment.
1:04:50 it’s subtle but you can see him swallow a couple of times, as if he is swallowing the advice he is given.
1:05:46 Tyler scrunches his nose again, thinking about the boss’ last question
During the rap scene. It starts out normal (1:06:47), but the more it goes on, the more it’s less about the song itself but about Tyler’s internal agony. His expression gradually becomes more agitated as the music cue intensifies. 1:07:17 – 1:07:24 full on rage finally coming out, all the pent-up frustration. By the end, his breathing becomes heavy, his eyes are glassy, the anger out in the open at last.
Tyler then confronts Claire about his suspicion. At 1:11:08, he keeps looking at the book from time to time, nervous because he’s about to confront his girlfriend. But his gaze becomes laser focused on her once he catches her lying. At 1:12:57 while his tone is even before, the voice gets higher as he becomes worked up, especially when a particularly sensitive point is brought up. In the end, Claire confronts his insecurity and leaves.
Since then he’s been killing it at work only to end up getting fired.
At first he thinks he’s about to get promoted. At 1:14:43 he grits his teeth in glee, as if restraining himself from saying “f yeah!” in front of his boss. 1:14:48 his face lights up, anticipating good news. But it quickly turns into confusion, at 1:15:12 his eyebrows crease, his eyes shake, then at 1:16:07 the full truth comes crashing down, the look of realization is quite heartbreaking.
In the end, his girlfriend leaves him, he loses his job, he has no one. He ends the movie by going on a road trip in search of himself. His narration once again provides insight into the emotion that closes this story – it’s resigned, it’s “well, too bad”, but also it’s hopeful for something new to open up.