It's Your Call

By Jacquie Phillips and Meryl Hathaway | Romance
A long-distance couple finds that modern technology may not be what they need.

Ava and Peter are in a long-distance relationship and have every tech tool at their disposal to maintain their connection. They use Skype, send texts, FaceTime and even talk on the phone.

But over the course of one evening, a typical catch-up conversation escalates into bickering, and soon the couple must reckon with exactly what is keeping them together, and just what their future will be.

Writer Meryl Hathaway, who also plays Ava, and director Jacquie Phillips have crafted a perceptive comedy about communication, intimacy and just how difficult relationships can be, especially when both parties are still evolving in life, work and character.

The film's foundation rests on an excellent, relatable script, which drills down through the levels of communication between couples as Ava and Peter talk. It begins with the sharing of quotidian experiences and details in an attempt to connect and bond with one another: the asking after work, the sharing of anecdotes, even the inside long-running jokes. These seem easy enough for Ava and Peter, who have an easygoing banter and chemistry, even over screens.

But then it progresses into more deep-rooted needs and conflicts like sex, connection, intimacy and stability, and here Ava and Peter are on shakier ground. They want to meet their respective desires for connection in mutually exclusive ways, and once they realize the gap, it opens up a bigger, less bridgeable rift. In order to repair it, they need to be on the same page -- and that sadly may not be the case.

Actors Hathaway -- who appears in the critically acclaimed comedy "The Good Place" -- and Tyler Labine ably navigate the progression from light-hearted comedy to heartfelt drama with great chemistry, making it easy to believe that this is a couple with a long-running history. The camerawork that captures them onscreen gets increasingly more intimate as their conversations become more open and vulnerable, until the final moments, which bring us up close and personal with their final heartbreaking revelations.

"It's Your Call" is an intimate two-hander, which is arguably one of the most common narrative structures in short film. Yet when done with emotional honesty and a spirit of sincerity, it never fails to make a case that the most challenging journeys in human life are often the emotional ones. That's the case with this short relationship dramedy, which shows that even when armed with an arsenal of tech tools, it's never easy to communicate or hear life-changing truths, even when it's necessary.

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