Alison

By David Lester | Romance
A man has a dysfunctional night with his girlfriend and starts evaluating the relationship.

Jay’s long-term girlfriend Alison is what people call a “hot mess.” During one particularly drunken night, she proves a handful: public urination and lots of time worshiping the porcelain shrine are involved.

The whole night causes Jay to question just why he’s committed to this relationship. He loves Alison deeply, but it’s become clear to him that he’s giving more than he takes — and the imbalance is making him question just why he’s so committed in the first place.

Director David Lester, along with writer and co-star Jessica Rose, have crafted a short film that initially begins like an entry into the “crazy girlfriend” annals of film. The first half is structured like a continuous nocturnal misadventure, as Jay steadily cares for an increasingly outlandish Alison, and we feel his exasperation and frustration as she careens from one extreme to another. The quiet, contained direction and muted cinematography adds to the sense of being cordoned off in the middle of the night, both alone and lonely even in the presence of someone you love.

The film is no holds barred in portraying Alison’s wild antics, and Rose gives a remarkably brave, distinctly raw and unvarnished performance as Alison, touching on both the almost desperate charm on the surface and the gaping, grasping need underneath it. Actor Kristopher Turner plays off her beautifully as the steadfast Jay who is growing burdened by his role in the relationship and the lack of balance in it, and though his arc is subtle, it carries the emotional momentum forward.

The film’s quieter second half explored the cost of this imbalance in even the most steady and consistent of partners. Almost like a Möbius strip, it reveals a different side to both Alison and the relationship. The writing confines its narrative scope to the present tense, and doesn’t offer a lot of background information on Jay and Alison as a couple. But this beautifully directed, delicately calibrated “morning after” scene enriches understanding and adds complexity, showing that a relationship has its challenges — but perhaps also unexpected riches, compassion and tenderness in places and moments where it’s least expected.

“Alison” illustrates the idea that a relationship is often like a foreign country where only two people have passports to enter and experience its mysterious terrain. It starts off wild and unpredictable as its namesake, but it settles into an unexpectedly rich portrait of those “in between” moments in a relationship that unexpectedly form a pivot point, a next chapter in the journey. We don’t know what will happen next for Jay or Alison, but the indeterminacy of the ending feels true to the idea that commitments aren’t chosen once and then done — but must be chosen again and again and again, as life, people and understanding evolve.




You Might Also Like:

November 1st

By Charlie Manton | Drama
A mother goes to witness the execution of her son's murderer.

The Landing

By Josh Tanner | Sci-Fi
A man uncovers the horrifying truth of what landed on his childhood farm.

Sometimes, I Think About Dying (Sundance)

By Stefanie Abel Horowitz | Drama
A depressed woman thinks about dying. But a co-worker asks her out.

Bless Me Father

By Paul M. Horan | Drama
A priest has a moral dilemma when a man confesses a secret that affects his life.

The Goodnight Show

By Charlie Schwan | Sci-Fi
A virgin tries to get laid before an unstoppable asteroid ends the world.

Naysayer ft. Steven Yeun

By David M. Helman | Drama
A young father who is cut off from his son takes matters into his own hands.

Mordechai

By Benjamin Bee | Drama
An ultra-Orthodox Jew reunites with his twin brother for their father's funeral.

Retouch

By Kaveh Mazaheri | Drama
An Iranian woman's husband has an accident at home... and she just watches him die.

Stealing Silver ft. Maisie Williams

By Mark Lobatto | Drama
A woman uncovers the truth about the man living across from her.

Joseph’s Reel

By Michael Lavers | Romance
An elderly man is given the opportunity to relive one day of his life.

Cradle (The Oscars)

By Devon Manney | Animation
A veteran soldier battles phantom pains and memories of a pre-war life.

Don’t Be a Hero (Sundance)

By Pete Lee | Drama
A woman robs banks as a cowboy on her lunch break.

Our Kind of Love

By Elham Ehsas and Azeem Bhati | Romance
An Afghan village girl goes on her first date in London.

Lost & Found (The Oscars)

By Andrew Goldsmith and Bradley Slabe | Animation
A crochet dinosaur must unravel itself to save the love of its life.

Edmund the Magnificent ft. David Bradley & Ian McKellen

By Ben Ockrent | Comedy
A farmer invests his savings in a piglet.



Your favorite short films you haven't seen yet.

Inspiring and insightful. Entertaining and enlightening.
That's what you can expect here: no fluff. Just a steady
stream of the best films delivered to your inbox.