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Review: Tall Dark & Handsome


An Indian man discovers his girlfriend has a history of dating Indian men, in this hilarious and heart-breaking comedy short film!


Director Sam Baron takes us on a thoughtful exploration of interracial relationships and personal insecurities via a script that manages to both probe uncomfortable questions and take advantage of co-writer and co-lead Amit Shah’s mastery of awkward physical comedy. Opening with a couple imminently expecting a baby, Varun (Shah) and Ellie (Laura Aikman), are presented as a couple very much in love and excited about their future. This is upended almost immediately as they run into an ex-boyfriend of Ellie’s, who also happens to be Indian.


Realising that he no longer occupies a unique place in Ellie’s romantic history, Varun begins to spiral, obsessing about how many other Indian men Ellie has dated. Baron and Shah prove to be highly effective partners as Varun’s discomfort with Ellie’s newly uncovered preference throws a grenade into their relationship. Aikman does a fantastic job of presenting a self-assured Ellie, whose rock-solid faith in her relationship begins to waver then crack under the unrelenting assault of Varun’s insecurity. Despite a limited amount of time to traverse a slowly unravelling relationship, both script and cast do a great job of hitting the key emotional touchpoints, delivering performances that get us to invest in their life together and thus deal with the uncomfortable questions that arise for the story’s central conflict.


Co-writers Sam Baron and Amit Shah cleverly establish Varun as an awkward and insecure, if otherwise well-meaning and kind guy. This tricks us into getting comfortable with the first part of the premise, in which a guy finding out something about his girlfriend’s romantic history that causes him to spiral, presenting an internal issue that he needs to conquer in order to save his relationship. When his suspicions are suddenly confirmed, the story opens us up to having to explore the uncomfortable areas of interracial relationships and presents an emotional test to both leads, not just one.


Baron’s screenplay utilises comedic dialogue with scalpel-like precision, with exchanges like “So maybe I like guys who look like you. What’s so wrong with that?” “It’s racist!” often doing the work of servicing character, theme and comedy. Having a duo of performers who know exactly what tone to strike to deliver the laughs without undercutting the drama elevates already impressive material and makes it impossible for the audience not to root for this couple.


At the heart of Tall, Dark & Handsome is an internal struggle that manages to transcend the questions of culture that the film presents. The story forces both lead characters to ask questions of themselves and of each other. Ellie struggles to hold together the bedrock of their relationship as Varun seeks assurances that their relationship is safe from external factors that he perceives as threats, rather than strengthening their relationship by putting faith in his partner.


Cast and crew do a great job delivering this character-driven comedy that has as much heart as it has laughs. A strong recommendation!


Studio: Onsight/Art4Noise/Rather Good Film | Year: 2023 | Genre: Comedy/Romance | Duration: 14 Mins | Suitability: Advisory



Director: Sam Baron | Producer: Nathan Craig | Writer: Sam Baron

Find out more about the filmmakers using the links below:


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