Directed by: #ChrisLazzaro
Written by: #FrankGaldorise
Sincere yet flawed family drama The Day Of takes a tragic storyline across generations to reveal the poignant role that death can play and how the struggle to keep going should always be outweighed by hope.
Alex Hazen Floyd plays Hugo, whom we meet early in the film as a young single father. His scenes playing catch with his daughter and reading her bedtime stories are tinged with sadness when we see him sobbing about the loss of the the girl’s mother. Skip some decades ahead and we next see Hugo played by Frank Galdorise (who also wrote the story), a bricklayer who is about to retire so he can be around to help his now adult daughter raise her baby that’s on the way. Whilst this looks like a happy ever after, we still see Hugo struggling with going through life without his partner.
Low budget and rough around the edges, the technical shortcomings of The Day Of can certainly be forgiven when considering the 10k budget. Audiences looking for a hefty emotional atmosphere will definitely enjoy director Chris Lazzaro’s gloopy and sentimental approach to the #filmmaking. However, if hazy sequences and a saccharine score are not your thing, the short film may cause stirrings of disappointment.
The dialogue is clunky and rudimentary, keeping the performers churning through scene after scene of conflict-less mundanity. It is only really the scenes where Hugo is alone that we experience any kind of dramatic tension and this gets quickly replaced. A bar scene that looks like it was mostly populated with friends of the crew was achingly awkward.
It’s not all doom and gloom, however, Kelly Wray provides another decent turn (see my recent movie review for The Chosen in which she co-stars with Galdorise) playing the older version of the daughter Emily. The awkward scenes and wooden dialogue of this film, make me absolutely certain I want to see her in a feature length indie movie with a stronger story. Alex Hazen Floyd was also impressive as the younger dad. His chemistry with the younger version of Emily was, although similar to a TV movie, at least convincing. Crying on cue is always challenging but he gives it a good go.
Far from groundbreaking (more like another brick in the wall - see what we did there?) and as rigidly abiding to cinematic conventions as they come, the sincerity of The Day Of is its strongest aspect, and the use of time hopping is an ambitious if uneasily executed #storytelling device.