Trying

By Holly Hargreaves and Simone Ball Santamaria | Romance
2 couples come together for a weekend getaway. But tensions begin to rise...

Two couples come together for a weekend getaway, sharing a house and hanging out together. Though they're all friends, the couples are in different places in life. Claudia and Tom are a married couple trying to conceive and hitting a breaking point with their difficulties. Meanwhile, Skye and Mac are a young new couple whose relationship is still ambiguous and open, but new and exciting.

As the weekend progresses, however, tensions begin to rise. The married couple can't help but contrast their current romantic and libidinal doldrums with the sexiness of the newer, more free-spirited couple, who can't seem to get enough of one another. By the end of their time together, both couples will have changed, and in ways neither pair could have predicted.

Written and directed by Holly Hargreaves and Simone Ball Santamaria with dialogue improvised by the cast, this insightful, perceptive romantic dramedy has its funny moments as it follows two couples navigating their romantic and sexual travails. The low-key humor comes from the contrast between the two couples, who are in vastly different stages of relationships, and how each couple feeds the other's insecurities. But there's also an emotional honesty in the dialogue and performances that make for a sweet, thoughtful resonance at the film's end.

The film's dialogue was mostly improvised, and there's a looseness and natural quality to the scenes that make for an easygoing rhythm to the storytelling. But the documentary-like observational quality in the naturalistic direction often captures the way that couples wrangle with one another over their needs for intimacy and connection. The camera's eye captures the flickers of emotion and nuance between each couple and is especially sharp in portraying dynamics of avoidance and resentment at work between people.

The editing is particularly astute, especially during a sequence when both go to bed. One couple bickers about not having enough sex; the other is in the throes of passion and can't find a condom. There's wry humor in the difference, but the narrative is very perceptive on the wide gulf between the hopefulness and excitement of new love versus the way that marital issues can turn what was pleasurable and fun into drudgery.

The ensemble cast -- featuring writer-directors Ball Santamaria and Hargreaves as Claudia and Skye, respectively, with Jackson Tozer as Tom and Frank Fazio as Mac -- all have an excellent rapport and connection, which makes the understated moments of vulnerability and need between them all the more raw and honest. As it turns out, these moments are the fulcrum points of nearly all relationships, where a certain degree of maturity and authenticity are needed to navigate them successfully. And, sadly, not every couple can summon these to move past them.

Insightful and well-observed, "Trying" is a smart, even-keeled snapshot of modern relationships, capturing both the exciting beginning of new love and the challenges of long-term commitment. It's enjoyable and entertaining to watch, but its resonance comes from its observation that relationships require more than chemistry and even compatibility to navigate the bumps that plague any romance. "Trying" is the rare relationship story that actually observes how partners relate to each other. Playful flirtation and repartee make love seem easy and attractive to viewers. But for it to endure and thrive, it also needs uncomfortable honesty, emotional resilience and empathy -- and without these qualities, it falls apart, no matter what stage a couple is in.




You Might Also Like:

Omnibus (Oscars)

By Sam Karmann | Comedy
A man boards the wrong train and desperately tries to get off between stations.

Little Bear

By Nicolas Birkenstock | Drama
A young girl sleepwalks and runs away at night. Now she wants to see where she goes...

Tala'vision

By Murad Abu Eisheh | Drama
A young girl watches a secret TV in a war-torn world. But it becomes life or death.

Iniquity

By Oliver Goodrum | Drama
A man who bullied a disabled girl tries to escape his past. Then an angry mob finds him.

Pony

By Candice Carella | Drama
A single mother leaves her young daughter with a rock musician uncle.

Sylvia

By Richard Prendergast | Drama
A single mother takes her family on a road trip. But it's to an unwanted destination.

Second Best

By Alyssa McClelland | Comedy
Twin sisters turn into rivals when one's gymnastics career steals the spotlight.

No More Wings

By Abraham Adeyemi | Drama
2 friends meet at their favorite fried chicken shop. But their lives have diverged.

Avarya

By Gokalp Gonen | Animation
A man is trapped on a spaceship after his robot overseer finds every planet uninhabitable.

Feeling Through (Oscars)

By Doug Roland | Drama
A homeless teen meets a deaf-blind man who changes his life forever...

Ernie

By Hadley Hillel | Drama
A man's suicide attempt rips a hole in the ceiling. Then he befriends the boy upstairs.

Dig Your Own Grave

By Kirk Larsen | Comedy
A man is forced to dig his own grave in the desert. But the ground is hard.

Call Connect

By Josiah Allen and Indianna Bell | Drama
A young helpline operator takes her first call and gets more than she expected.

More Than God

By Kev Cahill | Comedy
A devoted husband suspects his wife is cheating on him. Then he hides under the bed.

Welcome to Iron Knob

By Dave Wade | Comedy
A young boy accidentally shoots a stranger and the town tries to cover it up.



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.