Ellen Is Leaving by Michelle Savill

On the eve of departing overseas, a young woman makes the fateful decision to gift her boyfriend a new girlfriend.

Ellen and Hamish have been together for over three years. They’re still in love as ever, but Ellen had decided to travel abroad extensively for an extended period of time, leaving Hamish behind in New Zealand.

As she sorts through her things, she begins to realize just what leaving means, and what its consequences are. Taking matters into her own hands, she decides to find a replacement girlfriend for Hamish.

This short drama offers a surprisingly touching, take on a “quarter-life crisis,” where relationships are often tinged with intensity as young adults go about the business of discovering identities and exploring the world.

The emotional situations are handled with warmth, gentle humor and dignity, captured in delicate images that make the ordinary details of life romantic and meaningful. The poignant details captured by the camera show just how much Ellen is leaving behind — a life and home with someone she loves.

But the film’s beating heart are the subtle, understated performances that undercut any potential melodrama, and the economical way the actors capture tenderness and devotion with a few simple gestures, glances and words.

With skillful grace, “Ellen Is Leaving” is a beautiful portrait of a moment in life, capturing how the biggest moments of growth often come from how we deal with heartbreak and loss.




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