• Theo

Hovering Between Us (2019) Indie film review

★★★★

Directed by: #MilesBlacket

Written by: #MilesBlacket

Starring: #NendaNeurer, #AlfieStewart

Film Review by: Theo Rintoul


An extreme close-up of a young woman's face lit up by the dim light of her phone.

A secret crush? A diminishing friendship? Romantic or platonic? Miles Blacket’s short film Hovering Between Us doesn’t give total clarity to the nature of Maria’s (Neurer) feelings for her housemate and friend Alex (Stewart), but that’s not important. Instead, Blacket gives us a tale about lost communication between old friends that'll leave you with a smile on your face.


The opening close-up shows Maria on her phone, as we learn she often seems to be. Alex texts her to ask if she’s going out that night, sending her a video of him dancing to music. Maria delves deep into a computer folder labelled ‘Coursework’ and saves the video – not out of place amongst the many photos and videos of Alex and Maria together that she’s disguised there secretly. The close-ups that Blacket uses and the shots of her as the observer at the party she goes to that night tells us more about Maria than anything else – especially since she barely speaks, often seeming to type out a message on her phone to Alex but then deciding to delete it.


The narrative unfolds through both real-life and phones – texts, video messages, taxi journeys shown through transport apps. Maria finds it difficult to tell Alex that she needs someone to talk to just as much as he needs to distract himself from talking, as he struggles from a recent break-up. Despite the short length of the film, editor Sam Allen manages to create a larger world out of the small one Blacket lets us peek into, the close-ups and natural fumbles over words creating an organic atmosphere that Neurer and Stewart seem to be a genuine facet of, as if we’re watching their real lives.


At the party, Blacket pauses on a shot of a phone camera before zooming in through the lens to show a drunk Alex as he stumbles and dances. In the taxi, Maria’s journey is shown through the moving icon of an app on a phone. Blacket understands that technology is a part of human interaction, and it’s small instances like this that communicate more to the audience than any of the dialogue could. The focus is on the nuances of the characters actions rather than an exposition-heavy dialogue. Even the final shot of a computer screen indicates a new (or re-kindled) relationship between her and Alex.


Hovering Between Us is a soft and quiet insight into two character’s relationship with one another, conveying the importance of communication rather than a direct explanation of their actual relationship. It’s like the viewer has been granted permission into a little snippet of two people’s lives, private and concealed but fully understood through Blacket’s great directing and the natural performances of Neurer and Stewart. Whilst you can decide for yourself whether or not Maria wants Alex as more than just a friend, you’ll come away with a comforting sense of a new beginning for the two characters that makes the film a worthwhile watch.