Written and directed by: #PhilipConnolly
Hope has a life changing piano audition coming up which is nerve-racking at the best of times. Unfortunately, as a sufferer of social anxiety, it's going to take extraordinary courage to seek the help needed to pursue her dream.
The Fruit Fix, starring Jamie-Lee O’Donnell (Hope) and Mark Benton (Doug,) is a story based on fictional characters – but the ‘fruit fix’ itself, the banana walk, is a very real and practiced form of therapy for social anxiety. This short film follows Hope and delves into her struggles, as well as allowing audiences to see the situation from Doug’s perspective as he does everything in his power to help her smoothly attend the piano audition.
A very poignant observation that I feel I need to make as a sufferer of social anxiety is that The Fruit Fix thankfully doesn’t portray its included treatment as an overall cure. It can be very disheartening, and frankly quite stressful, to watch pieces of film that make treatment look easy to deal with. The struggle is the main plot point but then suddenly everything is cured, like a cold or a headache. It makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong; am I not doing enough to help myself?
Film is more impactful than some people realise and it’s rare to find work that is both relatable, understanding and realistic. Writer and director Philip Connolly has taken a delicate subject and portrayed it beautifully, from both the character’s sense of isolation to the successes that are eventually found. The objective is to assist Hope in getting to her audition, not to rid her of something entirely. This type of therapy is a helping hand in a longer process; Connolly has taken that concept and held it with gentle hands and shining empathy. A large number of audience members, including myself, will be able to see themselves in the heartbreaking repeats of ‘I can’t’ from Hope and feel the power of Doug’s delicate responses. This approach to writing is made even greater when paired with the performances given. Jamie-Lee O’Donnell in particular makes a tender connection with her character, moving with care and raw emotion in each scene.
Staying on the topic of true understanding, even the cinematography (Thomas Shaucroft) of The Fruit Fix brilliantly conveys the visuals of frantic thoughts and overwhelming emotions that social anxiety causes. The visuals seen in the film aren’t disorderly either; they are still pleasing to the eyes and flow naturally from scene to scene, but understanding of the struggle at hand has led to such wonderfully stirring shots.
The Fruit Fix takes on a creative and overall magnificent approach to mental health awareness, staying focused on the objective of the characters and carrying through tasks with a realistic perspective. I couldn’t recommend this short film highly enough; I think it will remain a significant and timely watch for anyone at any time.
You can watch the short film by clicking here.