Short Film Review “We Were Family”

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First, the Recap:

Separation. When it comes to being apart from the ones we love, it is often difficult enough to find the strength and fortitude to be away for any length of time. We are creatures made for connection.  But, when the connection is broken, and lives take sudden turns to cause the distance to be greater, the toll can be even more pronounced. A father (John Donnellan) loves his two children (Caithnia Mac Fheargusa & Oisin O’Maca). Coming back from a decidedly joyful time together at the movies, accompanied by gifts to further celebrate the day, everyone seems content.

However, upon arriving at home, the children’s mother (Aoife Nic Fheargusa) is less than enthused with him about what she sees as frivolous expenditure when further funds are owed to her.  As the ensuing conversation occurs between the two, it becomes a deepening well of all the unspoken or hidden intent behind every word that comes out as “seen” through each of their mind’s eyes, escalating and escalating, and covering every facet and point of argument that can arise between a separated couple. From finances and birthday parties to career and life priorities, it all keeps deteriorating. Amidst this strife, it’s the children who recall better days.

Next, my Mind:

Irish director Mick Quinn and fellow countryman, writer Olaf Tyaransen, present one of the most candid and honestly provocative looks at the concept of divorce and its consequences on the family unit this reviewer has personally seen on film, and does so with a targeted intentionality in a meager 3+ minutes! Utilizing a very basic cinematographic style and utilitarian settings, the narrative unfolds quickly and in a manner befitting its stark and painful theme. Extremely clever employ of objects and items around the home during the couple’s dispute, painting the internal imagery of both persons’ own context of what’s being communicated, is a stroke of genius, and most certainly puts an exclamation point on the scenes, burning them into the viewers minds well as impacting your emotional connection to a heart-rending scenario.

John Donnellan and Aoife Nic Fheargusa as the now unhappy couple strike deep and with precision in their performances, both exuding such a muted yet almost savage aura of bitterness and resentment towards one another even as their heated confrontation would seem to be only boiling mildly on the surface.  Both actors play off each other solidly, and their purposeful delivery, facial expressions, and body language speak volumes, hence the further emphasis placed on the common phrases and pointed remarks that flood their reasoning, unspoken, but present. The final repercussions, though, come from the two young boys in the finale by just viewing an old home video that sums up the heartache and ramifications of the entire situation in one fell swoop, illustrating how they’ve all lost complete notion of who anyone involved even is.

In summary, “We Were Family” is one of those films that one would honestly hope sparks concern, reaction, and perhaps even action in regard to divorce by every viewer who watches it. Presenting the ideas so acutely and succinctly about how valuable family is, how discomforting loss of human love and connection is, and the costs involved all around in situations like this, one would hope it causes better contemplation in all of us about the things that truly matter in this existence and are worth hanging onto.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  This film releases in July 2016. Until next time, thank you for reading!



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