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Rewriting Mallory

average rating is 3 out of 5


Patrick Foley


Posted on:

Feb 1, 2024

Film Reviews
Rewriting Mallory
Directed by:
Emerson Adams
Written by:
Malcolm Vanderwoude
Jonathan Erwin, Tammy Sanow, Lucy Borchers

We all go through moments where our lives feel like they’re following a script, but don’t often think what we’d do or say to the person holding the pen if that were the case. You’d hope at least it would be an almighty deity whose decision-making isn’t really up for question rather than an average white guy, but that is explored in Rewriting Mallory.


Joshua (Jonathan Irwin) is a writer using his passion to untangle his grief following the death of his sister. He starts work on a new story in a café, whilst elsewhere a young woman named Mallory (Tammy Sanow) finds her whole life crumbling as she is dealt lifechanging news. As the pair cross paths, Joshua recognises a shocking connection between the pair – which leads to both contemplating how their lives are playing out.


A short and sweet drama, Rewriting Mallory is heartfelt, thoughtful and presents an interesting concept for its storyline. However, it also feels somewhat underdeveloped and fails to really explore the potential it raises with its central idea. The link between Joshua and Mallory allows for fine performances and chemistry between Jonathan Irwin and Tammy Sanow, and their conversation in the café is easily the film’s highlight which leads to an emotional conclusion. The film wastes no time in working through each character’s arc, with a somewhat predictable yet satisfying revelation being the payoff.


But it is a genuine shame that the filmmakers did not explore the relationship between the pair in more detail or experiment with the possibilities it raises. Mallory’s anger towards Joshua when she realises the role he has played in the day she has experienced feels like unexplored potential that is resolved rather quickly, and the power the pair realise that Joshua possesses is another dynamic that raises story possibilities that would only add to the film without undermining the central theme. It’s clear that Joshua’s trauma and his journey towards regaining control is what ultimately drives the plot, but that doesn’t mean there couldn’t have been a little more fun.


However, the film’s quality means this is a case of us being left wanting more. Both Joshua and Mallory make for engaging and sympathetic co-protagonists, each presented with unthinkable and heartbreaking challenges. The plot raises fascinating questions about control and agency, and how much we allow our own personal losses to control our lives and impact on the lives of others. Joshua indirectly confronts his grief through his writing, but it is through connection with other people that he comes to gain a control over it, and his ‘story’ in the process.


Rewriting Mallory’s charm, purpose and meaning are more than sufficient to justify a watch. It’s clunky in parts and somewhat rushed, leaving some of its potential on the table. But the result is still an engaging, thought-provoking and emotional drama that carries a positive and life-affirming message.

About the Film Critic
Patrick Foley
Patrick Foley
Digital / DVD Release, Short Film
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