Directed by Nicole Pott
Starring Katy Dalton, Samantha White, Alex-McDonald Smith, Sarah Gain, Mark Anthony Games, Harry Eden, Alys Wood, Maura Judges, Nigel Buckley and David Fulton
Indie Film Review by Bailey Claringbold
In a Year follows the lives of a number of different people, all living in the same town, all feeling like they have nobody to turn to. When the local radio station offers callers a wish for New Year's Eve, it is revealed that there are more connections between them than they thought.
The narrative of this indie film was highly thought-provoking and managed incredibly well to tie multiple different plot points together with ease. I admired how all of the different characters played a part in the bigger picture, owing favour to Eleanor Catherine Smart's tremendous screenplay. It was evident that a lot of work had been put in to the plot elements right from the beginning, with each scene and each character being revisited throughout the story arc. One of my favourite aspects of this narrative were the real-world facts that had been inserted into the film along the way, and how the script appeared to be built around true-to-life occurrences. This benefited the emotional investment the movie created, as these scenarios and characters were so genuine and believable.
Every character seemed to be well fleshed out, with a complex backstory and relationship with other characters in the story. On the whole, the performances came through as sincere. The cast knew when to treat a sensitive topic with respect. Pippa (Alys Wood) and Cam's (Harry Eden) situation was a prime example of this, as the couple had to deal with Pippa's depression it was a sticky topic that paid off. Their on-screen chemistry was convincing and their performances shone through as some of the best in the film. However, I did find that some of the line delivery was a little stiff at times, and with a script that was so realistic, the acting needed to be natural to pull it off. Saying that, the cast were a great fit for their roles.
Visually I welcomed In a Year's colour palette and tones with open arms. It was uplifting to see a film with bright tones again, it complimented the message beautifully, using pops of colour to bring out when a character was happy or dialing it back when they weren't. Some of the graphics came across as a little jarring, such as the countdown to New Year's Eve that kept appearing every now and then, as well as the cuts to a black frame with a question on. These didn't seem necessary but they certainly weren't a deal breaker.
This film perfectly captured the day to day life of the average person. With a magnificent screenplay and narrative, In a Year delves into the preciousness of life, and what it means to be happy. Even though some of the performances were rigid at some points, it was the concept and themes behind the film that kept me immersed.