At the beginning of We Go Way Back, Kate (played by Cornish grad Amber Hubert) is a 23-year-old, brokenhearted Seattle fringe-theater actor. By the end of the movie, which is showing at this year's Seattle International Film Festival, Kate is still a 23-year-old, brokenhearted Seattle fringe-theater actor, but some things have happened: She gets her big break as Hedda Gabler in a production doomed by its idiotically arty director (R. Hamilton Wright). She has sad, desultory sex with theater people. She is toasted on her birthday by the idiot director: "Not only does she keep our books in the name of art, she calls the plumber in the name of art!"

We Go Way Back is about lost innocence and the lies some young artists tell themselves. They convince themselves that they're happy making art, that they should be making art, because it sounds cool or noble or free-spirited or something. They don't want to be lonely workaday drudges getting pinballed through a meaningless life. But, the art world is full of these lonely pinballs (who have workaday jobs and an extraordinarily demanding hobby) and Kate is one of them. This portrait of the artist as a vacant creature shows more warts than glory—writer and director Lynn Shelton holds the mirror up to nature in a seriously depressing way.

And there's strong local flavor, with footage of the Empty Space; music by Laura Veirs, Harvey Danger, and the Decemberists; and local actors, including Basil Harris as a gentle farmer. There are some funny bits for people familiar with the theater world, like Wright's gimmicky Ibsen director. (Hedda should speak Norwegian! Let's cover the stage in potatoes!) We Go Way Back is worth noting, if only because it's the only movie that's ever likely to be set in the Seattle fringe scene, circa now.