Posts tagged "Rafe Spall"

“Long Story Short” – A Timely Tale

June 29th, 2021 Posted by Review 0 thoughts on ““Long Story Short” – A Timely Tale”

Time. It’s truly the most precious commodity. No amount of money can buy it and once it’s gone, it’s gone. The new romantic comedy, “Long Story Short,” starring Rafe Spall screams that message from the mountain tops in one of the most familiar yet innovative ways possible. Think of this story as “It’s a Wonderful Life” meets “Groundhog Day” and “A Christmas Carol” with plenty of room for its own unique flare to become a romantic comedy.

The movie begins as Teddy (Spall) inadvertently kisses the wrong woman on New Year’s Eve—a “When Harry Met Sally” moment—and as luck would have it, he and this woman, Leanne (Zahra Newman) begin their journey together…eventually. It seems that Teddy the Procrastinator lives by the motto of “later.” Never embracing the moment, or even taking any chances in life, an unexpected encounter with a stranger (Noni Hazlehurst) at his father’s gravesite pushes Teddy into the future as she presents him with a gift – or is it a curse – that will begin on his wedding day and every anniversary thereafter.

The strange events begin to unfurl the night of Teddy and Leanne’s wedding and he notices an odd gift of a tin can that reads on the tag, “Open on your 10th Anniversary.” Tossing it aside, he hops into bed with his new bride only to wake up one year later. However, he doesn’t realize a year has flown by as he overtly demonstrates by his odd response to his suddenly pregnant wife. Trying to piece the puzzle of his life together certainly makes us laugh with compassion. As quickly as a year went by, Teddy then finds himself on his second, third, and fourth anniversary, desperately attempting to steady the moving time quickly flowing beneath his feet. Finally grasping what has happened and watching his wife steadily push him away over the course of “years,” he sees himself and the path he has paved as a very unpleasant one. His question quickly becomes how to get off of this time warp merry-go-round.

Writer/Director Josh Lawson adeptly tells this story of regret and learning to cherish every precious moment we have on this planet with sincerity and humor. Spall’s low-key, earnest style creates a lovable and believable character as Teddy’s life spirals out of control. His signature off-the-cuff almost parenthetical speech style lures you in as you hang on his every word; not wanting to miss a chance to chuckle or laugh aloud. Lawson also finds just the right dialogue to propel what might be defined as a typical marital trajectory; highlighting the ups, downs, and complexities of love, marriage, and parenting.

Newman is pure grace on screen as Teddy’s wife. She portrays Leanne as a woman completely enamored with her hubby, but understands that life is a roller coaster ride. She’s the realist in the relationship and Newman’s authenticity connects us with her character’s trials and tribulations and responses to Teddy’s bizarre behavior.

“Long Story Short” may borrow a lot of concepts from other films, but the “long and short” of it is that it’s just plain fun with a punch of a lesson, a lesson we all need to be reminded of from– please pardon the pun–time to time.

3 Stars

“Trying” gets it right effortlessly

June 16th, 2021 Posted by Review 0 thoughts on ““Trying” gets it right effortlessly”

“Trying,” the AppleTV+ series now in its second season, strikes an unlikely harmonic chord as it tackles the topic of infertility with humor and heart. Jason (Rafe Spall) and Nikki (Esther Smith) are a young couple who have been trying to conceive, but doing so in the traditional or even unconventional way, just isn’t in the cards. Considering the adoption option, the couple apply, but the hoops they must jump through make it an ever-changing obstacle course paving the way for comedy and drama in perfect balance.

Nikki and Jason, in many ways, are a regular young couple. Neither of them has their act completely together and both of them constantly compare themselves to others as they attempt to find their own path…together. Over the course of two seasons, we get to know them individually and as a couple. Their family and friends, all very unique, influence who they are and how they trudge forward in creating a family by way of adoption.

The story finds credibility and reality as both Nikki and Jason try to become the model prospective parents. This craziness is accentuated when the social worker, Penny (Imelda Staunton), a standout in the series, comes on the scene. Testing the waters of parenthood, a memorable episode depicts Nikki and Jason babysitting a friends’ youngster for the weekend. They quickly realize parenting isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. This is just one of the myriad number of wonderful episodes that, no matter whether you’re a parent or not, you’ll chuckle and connect with this less-than-perfect perfect couple. And by the end of Season 2, we are so fully invested in this couple and their possible success that we can’t wait for Season 3.

“Trying” delicately yet authentically creates what millions of couples in both the US and in the UK experience. It’s traumatic, yet with “Trying,” the comedy lifts this difficult topic by identifying all the realities of what it means to be a parent. Creator Andy Wolton walks that fine line like a tightrope walker, confidently honing in on the dramatic while finding humor in the everyday realities, never losing his balance or his pace.

Spall and Smith shine together, a natural chemisty emitted no matter the situation. Their interactions and dialogue make you believe they’ve truly been together for years with the never-stilted conversations, natural body language, and comfort between them. With smart, succinct, and creative writing, and comedy used in just the right proportions, Spall and Smith deliver a one of a kind show.

You can stream Seasons 1 and 2 on AppleTV+ now.

3 1/2 Stars

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