Hip Hip Hooray

By Lizzy Sanford | Drama
A guy breaks up with his girlfriend on his 30th birthday, moments before discovering she has thrown him a surprise party.

Harry and Anna have been living together for two years, after dating for four. But on his 30th birthday, he breaks up with her. But breaking up is hard to do, especially when Anna’s planned surprise party continues to bubble onward, throwing a wrench into the process.

Writer-director Lizzy Sanford’s small gem of a comedy is equal parts painful and hilarious. Essentially the chronicle of a breakup, the story seems deceptively simple. But it’s built on a smart, sharp, funny and honest screenplay, which sets up a mine field of long buried frustration, awkward humor and genuine pain for the two characters to cross before they can finally part.

Relationship films rely on strong performances to create believability and engagement, and this short doesn’t skimp. Actor Anna Cordell is the film’s center, and she navigates the thin line between agony and humor with great skill, able to stay in the emotional reality of the film’s circumstances while still giving life to the funnier moments. Matt Ingerbreston’s Harry plays well off her, and viewers get a strong sense of someone finally giving voice to things they’ve pushed down for some time. Both actors are captured in luminous black and white, which gives the film a sense of timeless classicism, underscoring the universality of the experience of a relationship falling apart.

Thanks to great writing, beautiful cinematography and two strong performances, viewers can see both why Harry and Anna were drawn together as a couple, and why they fell apart. “Hip Hip Hooray” ultimately proves to be equal parts awkward, charming and almost painfully heartfelt, showing that breakups, like relationships, also are about good timing.




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