Love's Innocence Lost

Directed by Mike Clarke

Starring Abigail McKenzie & Damien Ashley

Short Film Review by Sarah Smeaton

Love’s Innocence Lost is a dark tale confronting the nightmares of being told something so irrevocably life changing by your partner that things can not and never will be the same again. What’s refreshing about this short film is that it only deals with the aftermath. Something horrific and tragic has no doubt occurred…this is clear right from the very first line; “It can’t be the actions of a normal person.” It’s not, however, immediately clear who female lead, Dina, (played by Abigail McKenzie) is referring to. This provides such an interesting, unbiased viewpoint for the audience. We don’t know who to blame, we don’t even know what the crime is. The fact that Love’s Innocence Lost goes on to bend ingrained stereotypes is also a credit to writer, Paul McGowan.

Main characters Dina and Aaron (Damien Ashley) have found themselves in an unenviable situation, of which Dina’s comment sums it up perfectly; “I don’t want to think about the past. I can’t bear to think about a future after this.” They are at that pivotal moment in time where an action has undoubtedly already occurred and the reaction, the consequence, has yet to catch up with them.

Director Mike Clarke has chosen just two single scenes for Love’s Innocence Lost, drawing the audience’s focus exactly where it’s needed. One being the park, where this heinous crime has occurred, and one being Dina and Aaron’s lounge. The cosy setting here, with the roaring fire and lit candles, belies the tangible emotion of these two characters on the brink of a moment that will change everything. The combination of which is captivating.

It’s never fully revealed what has happened to cause such a scene, and for me this is what actually makes this film so different and moving. Damien Ashley brings a real sense of intrigue and passion to the role of Aaron and most definitely draws in the most empathy here. At times, however, I found it difficult to buy into the character of Dina. Whether intentional or not, she came across as rather wooden in places and as though her emotion was forced and unreal somehow. Perhaps this was part of her character psyche and tied into her role, but I did not feel this was solidified throughout or cohesive enough during the full production to make this clear. Overall, this a beautiful snapshot in time that has such a minute focus you simply won’t be able to look away.

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