From Annoyance to Addiction: Exploring the Surprising Power of Neighborly Noise in “TROY”

Thea and Charlie are a couple who starts off viewing the obnoxiously loud sexual antics of their neighbor as painfully intrusive. They can’t eat, they can’t sleep, and they can’t even sit down for a relaxing meal without having to endure the absurdly loud groaning and body slapping coming through their walls. This proves to be an overwhelming nuisance, and they feel compelled to say something. However, they are both intimidated by their neighbor, Troy, and stall every time they get an opportunity to confront him head-on.

One day they hear Troy having a heated argument with his boyfriend and just like that, the sex sounds stop coming through the walls. Are they happy? On the contrary, they are disturbed. Is Troy ok? We the audience might ask ourselves why do they even care?

We continue to watch the antics of Thea and Charlie who have become way too invested in Troy and are finding themselves desperately longing to hear those sounds again. This film asks us many questions. One of interest to me is why do we get so caught up in the lives of others? Another is how does our investment impact our ability to live our own lives?

Thea and Charlie are completely obsessed with Troy and go way beyond the bounds of normal concern in their efforts to return things to “normal.” It’s as if their routines were marching to the rhythm of Troy’s sex life and without it they are unable to function. This movie is a dry, witty comedy but it really makes one think about the world we live in today. For many of use, gone are the days of separated houses with one-acre lawns. We are living in close proximity to one another, seeing and hearing each other all the time. Are we becoming inter-dependent on each other?

The irony of this film is that Thea and Charlie’s investment in Troy doesn’t seem to really be about his best interest, despite them stating they are worried about him. Their investment definitely seems to be about their need for familiarity and their desire to keep things the way they are because that’s best for them. I’d argue that the ending proves my stance that it’s not about Troy but I’ll let you decided that for yourself.

“Troy” is an unexpectedly delightful film with superb acting. “Troy” stars Adina Verson and Michael Braun as Thea and Charlie, and includes Emmy Award winner Dana Delaney (Desperate Housewives, China Beach), Emmy Award nominee Dylan Baker (The Good Wife), Billy Carter (Apple + The Crowded Room, HBO’s The Plot Against America), Kristin Villanueva (Gossip Girl), Max Jenkins (High Maintenance + Special) and Samantha Sherman (Showtime’s Billions). Every line is delivered effortlessly, making it easy to become a fly on the wall of Thea and Charlie’s apartment.

Another aspect of this film that I found refreshing is that although Troy is having sex with men, his sexuality isn’t a plot point. He’s just having sex. It’s loud and invasive for Thea and Charlie and that’s the catalyst for their shenanigans. That it’s sex with men is irrelevant and I love that. It humanizes Troy in a way that can be lost by othering characters in an attempt to make their sexuality more significant to the story than it has to be.

The pacing and cinematography gives you the same feeling. It’s more like invisibly watching people around you live their lives than watching a movie. The approach totally drew me in, and I found myself invested to see what would Thea and Charlie do next. Just as how they were wrapped up in Troy’s life, I was wrapped up in theirs. I just wasn’t about to go to any extraordinary measures to keep them in my life the way they did with Troy. LOL

This film was Mike Donahue’s directorial debut. “Troy” premiered at Tribeca and has since been selected for over 30 prestigious international film festivals, winning numerous awards including Outfest’s Audience Award for Best Narrative Short. Currently, “Troy” is screening at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.

“Troy” is a great social commentary, very fitting for our lives today where we really are living on top of each other, figuratively and literally. It’s brilliant! For me, this film hit the ball right out of the ballpark. I greatly enjoyed it and I highly recommend you watch it too.