Guide Me Home

By Stefan Georgiou | Drama
A man arrives in London with dreams of becoming a 'somebody'. It doesn't go to plan.

David arrived in London years ago, with dreams of being somebody: a real "London boy," as his sister notes. But as life rolls on and things don't go as planned, he starts to fall through the cracks of the city he loves.

He spends his days cycling through the streets of London. But despite a crush on his local pharmacist, he is also isolated and lonely. His struggles escalate until he reaches a breaking point -- though no one is around to see or witness it.

Written and directed by Stefan Georgiou, this beautifully evocative short drama functions as a character portrait of a man who could be any average person living an anonymous life in a large city. David has a passion for the city itself, captured in a gorgeous stream of images full of color, movement and life. These are married to a lush orchestral score that captures the romance of city life, as well as an undertow of a more personal melancholy.

David drifts in and out of these images, a lone, intriguing figure in the bustling cityscape. Yet inside his apartment, it is claustrophobic and lonely. As the film's narrative layers unfurl, we discover more of David's troubles and background, including a visit from a social services agency to his sister.

This structure adds complexity and understanding to David's character and situation, but the relative delay of information in the storytelling helps viewers understand David as not just defined by his mental health struggles, but as someone who loved life in his way and strove for happiness in the best way he knew how. It also illuminates the lack of systems in place that allow people like David to fall through the cracks to begin with, but explores his struggles in a way that's humane, subtle and gives him a full sense of personhood.

Actor Mat Larouche has both a wiry energy and thoughtfulness that conveys his joys in his freedom and surroundings, his fragile hopes and the pain when those hopes aren't realized. It's a beautifully subtle performance that plays David as a human being with struggles, rather than defining him by those "issues." When it's all too much for the sensitive, solitary David, and when his troubles overwhelm him, it seems both doubly heartbreaking, but understandable.

Graceful, gentle and deeply resonant, Guide Me Home ends with a sense of clarity about the timeline of events in David's life and also with the quietly devastating tragedy of human transience. A seemingly functional scene informing the family of David's fate also takes on weighty resonance, revealing how his family members perhaps failed to see David as a three-dimensional person. "Sometimes we think we know someone, but we don't," says one small but pivotal character in the film. Like the film, these words encourage reflection on the so-called "marginal" people of our ordinary lives, pulling them out of the sidelines and bestowing upon them great imagination and empathy that may elude them in the wider world.

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