Short Film Review: “US” by Will Darbyshire

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Similar to Will Darbyshire’s other work exploring romantic relationships, “US” is a short film about a couple forced to confront the unknown future of their long-distance relationship. The 14-minute film portrays the brief moment of conflict that takes place as Sam (Lucinda Dryzek) and Jon (Laurence Ubong Williams) race to the airport to catch Jon’s flight home.

Overall, US is a relatable film about long-distance relationships. Even those coping with living apart from family and friends; rather than romantic partners will be able to relate to the film. Learning how to share your life with other people, even when you live far away is never easy and often an emotional process. The film definitely captures that, mentioning the use of Face-Time to interact when apart, and the roller-coaster of feelings that accompany the not knowing when they’ll see each other again. 

While the main point of the film is how people experience long distance relationships, there were a couple of other ideas in the film that I also found interesting.

Two sentences in the film that really stuck with were:

Jon: It’s just not the right time.

Sam: When will it be the right time?

These two sentences hold two important ideas.

 

First, you have this idea of the magic moment or the perfect time to do something. Most people can relate to this idea of having something they want to do, like moving somewhere new, starting that business or writing that book, but they’re always waiting for that magic moment. For most people this moment never arrives.

Second, is the importance of timing. Timing is everything. When a person makes a life decision or a choice the timing of that choice impacts both the outcome and the course that their life takes afterward. For example, imagine meeting your significant other a year earlier or a year later and how that could have impacted the relationship you have with them. What if you’d met someone else, or hadn’t been ready for a relationship?

Another part of the conversation that resonated with me was their discussion about how they experience the separation. It was very apparent that they experience it differently. Jon is able to stay in the present and focus on the other people and things going on around him, while Sam’s mind wanders to the past or the future. Even when Jon is with her, her mind wanders into wondering how she’ll feel when he leaves.

Don’t think I’m crazy but this conversation kind of reminds me of the movie Arrival (2016), in terms of thinking about how people experience the present. There’s currently a cultural movement into the practice of mindfulness and being fully present in a moment, which comes naturally to people like Jon, and less naturally for people like Sam. For better or for worse, their experience of the present is impacting their relationship as much as the physical separation itself.

“US” premiered at the London Independent Film Festival and will premiere in North American at the Sunscreen Film Festival on Friday, April 27th.

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