Brothers

By Julia Coulter | Drama
2 brothers come to terms with the untimely death of their father.

Two brothers, Taylor and Elijah, have come together to join their mother at the untimely death of their father. As they get ready together, debating over Elijah's choice of ties and shoes, the two brothers reveal very different personalities, temperaments and opinions.

Taylor is the grounded, responsible one; Elijah is more laidback and free. But they share memories of their father, reconciling themselves to their loss and sharing their deeper thoughts about family, love and mortality. And now Taylor must reach back to these memories to get himself through another deep personal loss.

Written and directed by Julia Coulter, this short chamber drama is more a portrait of a family bereft with grief, grappling with the loss of a loved one. Yet no matter the situation, it is that familial love and connection that gets them through the rawest of situations, a truth relayed through the film's elegant, understated directing and sensitive writing.

Despite the thematic terrain of grief and sadness, the film has a quietness to it, focused as it is on the mundane details of everyday existence: the color of a tie, the inside jokes about their father, and the memories past. Taylor is stricken, but his brother somehow manages to keep his innate sense of easygoing affability. Though the brothers are different, they are united in their puzzlement over the sudden loss of their father. Yet even sodden with sadness, they're still able to share a warm, affectionate connection.

There's not a lot of outright conflict driving the story; the narrative arc is experienced by a brother who must come to terms with his loss, leaning on the memories of the past to give him comfort in the present. The film uses subtle shifts in light and color to key viewers into the changes in setting and time, toggling between a warm, mellow golden-toned room and a coolly muted one.

Taylor is the only constant between the two modes. Played by actor Alex Alcheh, he ably evokes the different levels of sorrow explored in the film, from the first brush of it with his father's death to the compounding of it when tragedy strikes again. Unmoored without the steady, sunny presence of his brother and best friend, played with ease by actor Kevin Michael Martin, Taylor feels profoundly alone. But he finds refuge in the memories of his time with Elijah, which helps him through the rawness of the present moment.

One of the platitudes about grief and love is how we carry our loved ones with us in our hearts, even after they're gone, and how they are always a part of us, even when they aren't here. "Brothers" brings these platitudes to life, showing how we carry one another from one life experience to the next. The time we spend, the love we give, and the memories we make are never wasted with the people we love. And even when they are gone, the relationship remains in the form of an inner dialogue, as their spirit truly becomes part of our being.




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