A short film about the places, sounds and smells that remind you of someone you'd rather forget. It's the story of a guy who struggles to avoid these emotional landmines, and his journey to clear his head.
Orin Brimer sets out to tell a story about the debilitating realities of getting over a break-up and does so in very raucous form. Opening in a therapist’s office, we meet Josh Ruben’s Thomas being shown an ink blot. Now given the nature of the joke that follows, you can be forgiven for thinking that this film will be a simple, joke-a-minute unserious but entertaining comedy. To a certain degree you would be correct, but to assume this of the whole film would cause you to miss a very interesting perspective on the post-relationship recovery process.
Thomas cannot stop thinking about his ex-girlfriend Allison (Courtney Pauroso) and sees her everywhere. Literally. She appears in the background and even replaces the image of people that Thomas is talking to. We find Thomas in a vulnerable place and with a pretty strong sense of denial about the degree to which this break-up has affected his life. Aside from avoiding any convenience store where they might have shared a memory, Allison haunts Thomas like a ghost he doesn’t want to go away. The pretty serious dramatic implications of this are at times overshadowed by some pretty hilarious characters, from Thomas’ therapist who gives him great advice that includes the phrase “Let hope die” to best friend Jeremy (George Basil just prior to his fantastic turn as Cooler in Netflix’s Flaked), who gets offended when Thomas is too distracted to notice his “tit jokes”.
The film avoids caricatures that exist solely for the sake of comedy, even if comedy is liberally applied. A particular standout is the bartender Talia (Megan Neuringer), whose witty, intelligent, B.S-repelling character gives Thomas a potential road to recovery. Credit is given to Brimer’s writing in this regard as he does not allow the story to be resolved with a solution as easy as ‘find a replacement girlfriend’. While the very real temptation to simply let the comedic characters do the heavy lifting is ever present, Brimer never loses sight of the core struggle.
His focus on Thomas’ overall goal even explores the moments where Thomas feels like not even fighting the overwhelming presence of Allison in his mind. At just over 20 minutes, this is a long short film, but to its credit no time is wasted on needless exposition or superfluous shots or scenes that do not move the story forward and Brimer, who pulls additional duties as editor, keeps the story moving at a steady pace. Ruben’s performance as Thomas is almost perfectly deadpan as he portrays someone left numb by a brutal end to a relationship in which he was clearly heavily invested. George Basil is also able to convey serious drama without ditching the semi-stoner persona that gives this film so much of its levity and his character so much charm.
By the time we enter the final scene of the movie, it becomes clear that we have been on quite a journey with Thomas. Brimer has allowed time to pass, and even makes Thomas less responsive to the multiple ‘Allisons’ that continue to follow him around. Ultimately, this is a story about moving on and the, often messy process that is required to do that. The story wisely sits in judgement on no one and instead brings a realistic sympathy to these imperfect characters. Many people will be able to see themselves in this story either as the one who has been dumped, the one who was forced to do the dumping or the best friend trying to get their buddy to move on. This is one of those rare films that really does have a moment for everyone.
Studio: Oren Brimer | Year: 2015 | Genre: Romance/Comedy | Duration: 22 mins | Suitability: Mature - Strong language and sexual references