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Plant Life

Critic:

Isaac Parkinson

|

Posted on:

23 May 2022

Film Reviews
Plant Life
Directed by:
Joshua G. R. Fletcher
Written by:
Joshua G. R. Fletcher
Starring:
Charlie J. Sinclair, A. Plant
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A relationship drama from a different angle, about the symbols and objects that define our time together.

 

A man moves boxes out of a flat, leaving the softly lit domestic space bare. Clearly once a place of comfort and security, the blank walls and empty floor mark its abandonment. Only he remains there to grieve its new absence, sorting through boxes and packing away what’s left. A tense phone-call with his ex shows that he wants her to come collect things so he can forget about them, and about her.

 

The main totem of this loss is a plant they got together, which he now wants her to care for. He speaks to the plant as though it will speak back, their communication clearly intended to replace that of his previous relationship. The breakdown of communication between him and his ex is partly supplemented by trying to act out the feelings he has towards her. “What are you looking at?” he asks it frustratedly, evidently taking out some misplaced anger. Contrasting this, he then plays guitar for it, expressing some romanticism and love. The acoustics are rich and warm, filling the empty space with something more lively.

 

Interspersed with this relationship are shots of packing. A shot from the perspective of inside a slowly-filling box is particularly neat, our view of him gradually blocked by accumulating items. He then sorts through polaroids he spills on the floor, reflecting on the memories contained within. The process of packing away this life is made to look tender and thoughtful.

 

Further processing the grief over an ended relationship through their conversations, he reminisces with the plant about the start of their relationship. Remembering their first encounter, he describes it like a meet-cute. He protected the plant from the rain with his jacket on their way home, hoping to seem heroic and charming to her. Encased in this story is the hope of their earlier days together, which provides us some insight into his loss.

 

The dramatic parallels then speed up, beginning with a rejection of the plant. Accompanied by quick, intense piano, he casts it out into the rain. In trying to ignore it, he hopes to forget their previous happiness, and therefore his present sadness. Yet he can’t live with that, instead rushing out to retrieve it and returning soaked from the rain. Improvising a bucket to re-pot the plant, he realises he can’t let go of everything.

 

The night fades and warm sunlight once again shines through as he moves out the last of his boxes. The last thing he takes is the plant, and as the door shuts, we understand that sometimes we can leave behind something painful without leaving what was joyful.

About the Film Critic
Isaac Parkinson
Isaac Parkinson
Short Film