Thursday, July 1, 2021

Long Story Short Review: An Emotional Life Story In A Compact And Funny Package

Rafe Spall	...	Teddy Josh Lawson	Josh Lawson	...	Patrick Ronny Chieng	Ronny Chieng	...	Sam Dena Kaplan	Dena Kaplan	...	Becka Noni Hazlehurst	Noni Hazlehurst	...	The Stranger Zahra Newman	Zahra Newman	...	Leanne

Release date: July 2, 2021
Running time: 95 minutes
Written and Directed By: Josh Lawson
Starring: Rafe Spall, Zahra Newman, Ronny Chieng, Dena Kaplan and Noni Hazlehurst

Serial procrastinator Teddy (Rafe Spall) wakes up the morning after his wedding to discover that every few minutes he's jumping forward to the next year of his life. Watching his future flash before his eyes, Teddy must make every second count if he is to win back the woman he loves in this feel good comedy about second chances.

Long Story Short Movie Still
Long Story Short has a vibrant and cute opening that lets you know that this film will be a good one.  I loved the fireworks of the Australia night life and the situation that introduced us to these characters.  Teddy and Leanne (Newman) meet in a fun way, and this just propels the heartfelt story forward.  But once the time jumps begin, the film takes a darker, but still humorous tone.  Throughout it all, this film is fueled by the wonderful performance of Rafe Spall.  Because he is the main constant in this story, jumping ahead over and over, a lot of the storytelling and humor are on him, and he does not disappoint.  From finding out about new happenings in his life, to commenting on his older and older appearance, to coping with the mostly negative changes that have occurred in the last year, Spall is a force in this film.  He is such a fun actor to watch and his character of Teddy is equal parts enjoyable and painful to watch jump through the years.  And although the cast is small, Spall is not alone in this endeavor.  Newman is a great foil for Teddy, as a more grounded character who deals with the strange outbursts from Teddy ever year.  And Chieng is also fun as Teddy's best friend, who provides more humor on their stranger and stranger yearly meetups.  Dena Kaplan doesn't have a lot of screen time, but she does provide some humor and emotion when called on.  

But what this formula also lets you do is see an emotional life story in a relatively short time.  Don't let the romantic comedy part of this fool you, Long Story Short has a ton of emotion packed into a compact experience.  By jumping ahead and seeing the consequences, the film allows for a Christmas Carol kind of endeavor, where Teddy gets to see the consequences of his actions.  And despite him not having control over this or what he does, he genuinely gets to experience these emotional reveals and learn from them. His character, his life, and those around him go through through so many changes, and again, Spall does a wonderful job making the viewer feel what he is feeling.  And this brings some very heartfelt, painful moments in what is billed as a lighthearted comedy.  This is a brilliant way to do it; letting the audience touch on tough issues without dwelling too much on them.  But don't worry, this film is also quite funny.  It balances the fine line between humor and drama and will have you laughing and crying in the same scene.

If there are any negatives, it is that there is one strange emotional scene partway through that feels forced; I was half expecting Teddy to say gotcha after it.  And I didn't love the end credits song.  But don't let that dissuade you from seeing this film.  Really, don't even listen to that minor criticism.  This is a movie I absolutely loved from start to finish.  Long Story Short is a wonderful, split second film that will have you laughing and appreciating life.  

Long Story Short is a wonderful film, telling a heartfelt, compact, and emotional story with plenty of tears and laughs fueled by Spall's brilliant performance.  

Watch it.

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Long Story Short is in theaters, digital, and on demand on July 2, 2021.  For showtimes, click here.

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