Directed by Justin Groves Starring Justin Groves, Dean Kilbey, Jodyanne Richardson, David Wayman, Emma-Jane Hinds, Joel de la Motte Film Review by Sarah Smeaton
Acceptance is a dark and incredibly moving short British film that beautifully explores several important topics; all in under ten minutes. Main character John (Justin Groves) is a troubled man, going through the motions of everyday, mundane working life in the wake of declaring his innermost feelings to his mother and father.
What’s so refreshingly clever about Acceptance is that it deals only with the result of what John has ‘confessed’ to his parents. In essence, director Justin Groves is pointing to the fact that it’s perhaps not even important what John has revealed, more the reaction of his loved ones. For at the end of the day does it matter who we love, what we identify as, as long as we all have that acceptance we must surely all crave from our family? Justin Groves has taken on no easy task here. Not only the director and lead actor, he also co-wrote Acceptance with Emma-Jane Hinds. However, despite it so often being detrimental to film quality to take on too many roles in a small productions, Grove excels. If this film is anything to go by, Justin Groves is most certainly a talented actor, director and writer who we should all be watching with keen interest.
Acceptance upholds its grace and poise from the opening scenes to the final credits. The sound quality is also spot on throughout, of which sound production artist Christodoulos Procopiou should be truly proud. The quick and repetitive successive shots of John’s mundane life are excellently accompanied by noises from the daily grind. The speed of which we move through these scenes quickly borders on irritating, further enhancing and reflecting the emotions that John is experiencing. As a viewer, we’re pushed to be able to identify with him as a character in turmoil much more easily. It is only too evident what John must do to finally feel peace. There is a beautifully stark scene about halfway through the short film where the mundane sounds of everyday life, such as phones ringing and the brushing of teeth, all cease to exist. What we’re left with is classical music and a black backdrop. At the centre, John is dressed in a striking, red evening dress, totally comfortable in the shoes of the woman he has become in this scene. This is the only point in the film where action is comfortably placid and peaceful.
Although there are only chinks of positive light shining through in what otherwise appears to be a very bleak story, if you look closely enough there is a real positive message lying hidden here for anyone who is facing the incredibly terrifying experience of trying to seek acceptance from those most important. This is an important and stunning film.
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