Directed by Ryan Hendrick
Starring Kenny Boyle and Clare Sheerin
Short film review by Monica Jowett
Two strangers who both have recently suffered heartbreak join together on Christmas Eve to find their way back to Glasgow from the Scottish Highlands. From director Ryan Hendrick, Perfect Strangers is a simple and sweet romantic comedy short.
Rob (Kenny Boyle) is waiting for a train, which he has missed and is joined by Jen (Clare Sheerin) on the platform who loudly exclaims ‘All men are bastards.’ From there, the two come together, perhaps a little reluctantly for Rob, to find a way to get back to Glasgow. Due to heavy snow in the highlands, and slightly unreliable methods of transport, they end up stuck in an inn on Christmas Eve. Once they are warm and dry the two start to open up to one another about the awful day they have had that has brought them together.
The solid script provides gripping dialogue between the two leads and the set up gives us some back story for how the two ended up on the same platform, in similar situations. Like many romantic comedies, the script may seem a little formulaic yet the ending surprised me, and it also felt refreshing for a short film of this genre. A happy ending of course, but not what you come to expect for a romantic comedy, especially one set at Christmas.
The two leads are opposites of each other, yet have great chemistry. Rob is grumpy and a little cynical about his situation, whereas Jen is mostly bubbly, making jokes, who takes the initiative to get them back home, looking on the bright side. From the start we see Rob has his misgivings about Jen, and their snappy back and forth conversations provide some great laughs. Though as the story goes on, the two begin to care for one another and their opposing character traits are less obvious as they grow comfortable with each other. It is easy to believe these characters are going through a painful Christmas, as Boyle and Sheerin give natural portrayals and clearly have a genuine spark.
Perfect Strangers makes use of the beautiful scenery to be found in the highlands of Scotland. Snow covered mountains can be seen and it further demonstrates the horrid Christmases Rob and Jen are having, which is not helped by this gorgeous white back drop. This setting, along with a mixture of Christmas songs and cheery piano score makes this short film a cheery romantic comedy that makes you feel good about Christmas, even if it could be miserable.