Emily

‘Emily’ is a 12 minute short film about a very unconventional or “kooky” one night stand.

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That’s the conservative, spoiler-free teaser which is all you can read if you want to watch the film. It is £1.99 on We Are Colony. (This is not an advert, I just think this website is amazing. You get the film, the script, the artist’s mood boards and more so it’s definitely worth it if you are as obsessed with every aspect of film making as me!)

Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything, Like Crazy) exudes poise and wit amongst a “car crash” of a situation with James, Christopher Eccleston (The A Word)*. Everything about the film from the frank dialogue to Emily’s unnerving persistence to pursue James pushes boundaries and challenges cliches.

The one night stand happens in the day, Emily approaches a complete stranger and blatantly asks for the… well, ‘one-day-stand’, which when put like that makes completely no sense. What’s a stand? There is no stand. Why does sex with a complete stranger have such an allusive name?

The film appears to follow all conventions and appears entirely normal to someone watching from the outside. But, the film is very cleverly shot to subtly expose the real tragedy and complete lack of intimacy. The truth is covered up by comedic dialogue and a too perfect, not awkward sex scene that is obviously physically intimate but cannot possibly be emotionally intimate. The characters fool us with these facades even though they have only known each other for a few hours.

Quick, short camera shots amongst the story of the two strangers reveal their unsaid stories; his wedding ring, her boyfriend’s trainers. It is a mess of tragedies but with a crisp and clean exterior. In fact, the film’s aesthetics are beautiful!

However, I soon realised that the film’s imperfections were omitted or glazed over. Less beautiful and more boring scenes were subtly cut out, no questions asked, thanks to the magic of film; the boring potentially awkward walk from the perfect cafe to the perfect apartment, the messy potentially awkward sex, the ugly potentially awkward shower. We see the before and after but it is an inescapable truth that something is always missing. The film’s structure (which to remain interesting and 12 minutes long is allowed not to reflect real life) highlights the tidy befores and afters but never lingers in the messiness of the reality of their ‘one-day-stand’.

The befores and afters imply a journey because the after is never the same as the before. Nuances on the set mark that journey. For example, the sheets on the bed begin with white stripes on blue and end with blue stripes on white. The colours remain the same so that they’re not immediately noticeable but they have changed.

Emily_CROP

The real tragedy is that I had to look on the credits for Christopher Eccleston’s character’s name. He is technically a complete, nameless stranger to Emily, yet she tells him that her boyfriend is the true stranger because although she knows his name and has been with him for years, she doesn’t actually know him. He, unlike her boyfriend, has left no visible mark of his existence. He has not physically disrupted the set or intruded on her life. But, internally, emotionally he has changed things, and knowing his name would not alter that.

By the end of the film Emily’s previously abrupt dialogue is lost. She no longer has such a defensive approach. She lets her guard down and although we perhaps expect to see her vulnerability, we actually see both characters, back in reality, realising what they’ve done. The silence between Emily and James, for the first time, openly feels tragic. Whatever they have done, it didn’t cure their loneliness and, therefore, in the words of Emily, “if you’re going to feel alone it’s better that you’re by yourself”.

*I’ve only listed the actors’ previous credits that I’ve seen!

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