Title: A Better You
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Director: Eamonn Murphy
Starring: Sean T O’Meallaigh
Runtime: 15 min
What it is: This Irish fantasy drama touches on the subject of self-image as a young man who buys what he thinks is a better version of himself, a visual metaphor for the role of social media in society today.
What we think: Visually stunning work and captivating the entire 15 minutes through. The story instantly draws you in with a retro ambiance that continues through as we watch our main character find his way through his own self-doubt. The acting is suburb and the storyline was fascinating enough that I felt it would do well as a full-length film.
Our Grade: A, My only disappointment came in the knowledge that it was a short and not a full-length film. It was well written and the cinematography was beautiful. Each moment felt like a puzzle that you needed to take in for future reference.
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Director: Sophie Kargman
Starring: Justice Smith, Graham Patrick Martin
Runtime: 9 minutes
What it is: Over the course of a day, Jay and Alex, roommates and best friends, spend their time verbally jousting over whether it’s instinct or social norms that drive their heterosexual proclivities. The young men are bro-ey but thoughtful enough to engage one another on the topic. As the day unfolds through PlayStation battles and beers, the barriers slowly fall and the conversation climaxes in a choice that has a profound impact on their evening.
What we think: The dialogue is intelligently written, believable for light conversation, and yet deep enough to provoke thought. It guides you to the climax which, if the pronouns were reversed, would probably not evoke a reaction. It challenged gender norms in placing male friends in an often fantasized female friend position, but I don’t know if it felt as organic as it should have been. It was light and funny often enough to keep the audience’s attention for the first 6 minutes, but the ending just felt forced and without chemistry, something you would hope in such an encounter.
Our Grade: B-, Great dialogue, and good acting. It avoided standard tropes all together seamlessly incorporating its characters. Armie Hammer 30 seconds on film is always a bonus. I just don’t know if it accomplished its intended goal.