Stars: Samuel Varghese and Heidi Johnson
|This film was a submission to one of the IFP Phoenix film challenges in the 2014-15 season. Here's an index to my reviews of 2014-15 submissions.|
It's all about a couple, Freddy and Judy. At the beginning of the film, they're a young couple in love, very obviously so and very understandably so too, given that they're getting married. 'Best day of my life,' he tells her, the pair of them a grinning composition of red, white and black. We quickly move on, though, to the moment when she raises the idea of having a family. After all, it's been two years, eleven months and four days, the precision of her memory important given where we're going; he just knows that it's almost three years. And we keep moving forward, these brief flashbacks always returning to the most impactful moments of their life together, interspersed with Freddy driving through Phoenix suburbia. We're only a minute and a half in when the tone starts to change and it does so with emphasis. Suddenly we're not in Kansas any more, Dorothy, and everything starts to descend into darkness. That it does this so capably without resorting to the usual emphasis points like blood and swearing is very telling indeed.
Technically it's a little inconsistent but I'm not convinced that there aren't reasons for that. The structure of the film in its progression of flashbacks is hindered by the restrictive five minute running time and I'm sure would breathe better with a little more room to do so. I'm especially interested to know if the lighting choices deliberately play to the changing tone of the story, as the score clearly does, or if they were, well, just inconsistent. Unfortunately each of these little vignettes is so inherently short as to make that tough to figure out and I really hope that Jeff Dykhuizen and his crew of Grand Canyon University film folk shot more footage that they can edit together into a longer version. This is strong as a five minute challenge entry but it could easily be a blistering ten minute short film. It wouldn't be easy to directly expand, so if there isn't any extra footage, it would probably need remaking to flesh it out fully. It would be worth it, as I know I wasn't the only one impressed by this film, even if it didn't win any Breakout awards.
Best Day of My Life can be viewed for free at Vimeo.