Updated: Oct 14, 2022
Directed by: #EámonnWrightstone
Written by: #EámonnWrightstone
A young man is struggling to move on after losing his aunt and uncle and creates a portrait of grief in this immensely powerful and intimately personal short.
21 year-old Eámonn Wrightstone is an award-winning director and cinematographer based in NYC and began is career producing childhood YouTube videos on a Mini DV camcaorder, before editing and creating his won short web series and films. He now studies film and television production studies at NYU. Wrightstone tragically lost his uncle to suicide and three years later, his aunt passed away after being unsuccessfully treated for illness, with Eámonn attempting to navigate his grief by creating a short film to help him heal and hopefully connect with others suffering from bereavement.
The short runs at just under four minutes and is put together with home video footage of Wrightstone’s family, as well as present day segments which are shot in the 4:3 academy ratio. The film opens with the striking visual of Eámonn sitting on a bed, with a blanket covering some of his body as he stares vacantly into an empty room and we hear numerous voicemails from family and friends, attempting to contact him. Grief can very often become all-consuming and difficult to navigate, leading to individuals cutting off connections with others as they come to terms with their own mental state, with Wrightstone capturing this sense of isolation perfectly in his short.
Old family videos of Eámonn’s father playing with him in the snow, or his mother and father’s wedding, are edited together with an immersive and methodological sound design. What sounds like water dripping in a cave is played over a recording of Eámonn’s mother and father slow dancing at their wedding, enhancing the existential sensations that often come with the experience of grieving loved ones along with the immense feelings of loss and loneliness. The disturbing voice over representing Wrightstone’s state of mind: “they were so much happier without you”, is accompanied by a long shot of him sitting at a dining table alone and demonstrates the awful self-deprecating thoughts that can plague the mental health of an individual struggling to cope with their grief.
We hear the devastating account over a voicemail from Eámonn to his aunt, as he recalls the experience of witnessing her raw grief when she found her brother after committing suicide. This leads to the heavy emotional crescendo of the short, where we see a powerful long shot of Eámonn, alone, kneeling at either his aunt’s or uncle’s grave and his tearful confession over voicemail about not being ready to grieve again is crushing. He states: “I’m not sure that I’m ready to grieve again, I really don’t want to grieve again. If I’m honest, I don’t know how to grieve you” and this honest declaration is sure to resonate with many viewers who have also gone through similar experiences in their own grief.
Will You Have Any Regrets makes for a hard-hitting watch and its intimate depiction of the rawness of fresh grief may hit too close to home for some, but its value lies in the honest sincerity displayed in its direction and the catharsis reached in seeing bereavement represented through art. This touching short succeeds in creating an empathetic, helpful viewing experience for any individual who has lost a loved one and Eámonn must be commended for his courage to share his story with the world.
Will You Have Any Regrets (2021):