Sep 7, 2023
Rebecca Haroldson, Grant Gale, Amy Van Holland, Stacy Heil
Two strangers meet by chance and discuss their troubled lives.
Alice (Haroldson) is walking to an isolated bridge in the countryside, with the intention of ending her life. Instead she meets Albie (Gale), a man who has come to the same location, with the same intention. The two of them confess their unfortunate plans to each other and proceed to talk about the events that led to their current situations.
Filmed in black-and-white and on location in Iowa, along with Iowa-based cast, crew and facilities, this drama has a narrative that is full of flashbacks that alternate between the present, which is Alice and Albie sitting on the bridge at night, by themselves, recollecting the past and sharing their experiences. The flashbacks are organised in a way that is basically an Alice-flashback, then an Albie-flashback, then back to Alice and so fourth, occasionally going back to the bridge scenes. The flashbacks tell the person's story, significant events about their lives and their struggles. For Alice, they reveal that she has struggled with alcoholism, lost her husband and daughter and has desperately tried to find purpose in her life again. Regarding Albie, things have been difficult for him following the loss of his mother and met Hester (Holland), a young woman who turned out to be a prostitute and a drug addict, who is menaced by her aggressive pimp. As Alice and Albie share more with each other, they form a bond between them and reflect on their lives.
Alice has lost everything due to drinking and her attempts to find redemption involve meetings with a therapist and a priest. Albie is an awkward guy who has narcolepsy, eats only specific things, has a fascination with minotaurs and believes that no one cares about him. Both of the two main leads are interesting characters and although they have lived different lives, they are both connected by the challenges they have gone through (and are still going through) and they both reached a point where they believed that there was no way things were going to get better...until they met one another. Their encounter helps them heal their wounds.
As the director of photography, Jude Rawlins does a good job with the black-and-white cinematography and his directing includes long takes with a static camera and many shots capture the snow-covered environments. His editing often utilises dissolve techniques. For its soundtrack, the feature has a selection of amusing songs and there are several lengthy sequences where diegetic sounds disappear and a non-diegetic song takes over.
This is an emotional and hard-hitting story about two individuals who believe that their life has reached a dead end and it is also a commentary about desperation, suicide, alcoholism, mental health and, to a lesser degree, drug addiction and religion. However, it also points out positive aspects about life, including self-discovery and the value of support. Overall, it is an intriguing and thoughtful viewing.