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What We Did Yesterday

average rating is 3 out of 5


Joe Beck


Posted on:

Jun 26, 2023

Film Reviews
What We Did Yesterday
Directed by:
Matt René
Written by:
Matt René
Dominique Moore, Matt Kennard, Harriet Kelleher


The gutting feeling of catching a partner’s infidelity is both heart breaking and angering at once. It is an experience shared by many, hence why ‘What We Did Yesterday’ credits itself as based on dozens of true stories. However, whilst ‘What We Did Yesterday’ is an effective reconstruction of a variance of such scenario, it feels undercooked, and leaves you wanting more than it bothers to give you.


The cheater is Jake (Matt Kennard), whom we see rushing around his apartment topless, struggling to get his bits and pieces, and himself, ready for work - we assume he is a teacher - to attend his early morning briefing. He’s had a bit of a wild night, there’s wine glasses decked on the coffee table, a guitar resting far too loosely, and boxes and boxes of Chinese food takeaway strewn across the apartment’s living room and kitchen. If not a cheater he is certainly lazy and demonstrating an inability to look after himself or his space, further shown by his breakfast of a cold spring roll hastily popped into his mouth. 


But he is a cheater, as Rhiannon (Dominique Moore) discovers, as her initial disappointment at the ruinous state in which he’s left their apartment soon becomes anger when she discovers an out of place hair clip, and then open a message from the youthful Sophie (Harriet Kelleher), who is speaking about the actions of yesterday. Rhiannon, who had been away on a trip but has returned a day early, doesn’t even seem surprised, or at least doesn’t show much shock. Instead she seems more disappointed that her partner has succumbed to wanton temptations, though perhaps she expected, deep down in her heart, that such a day would eventually come. 


The shock comes later, and seems obvious in hindsight though in the moment doesn’t quite compute. This indicates strong writing, which is consistent throughout the rest of Matt René’s screenplay. Each movement feels telegraphed to a tee, and seems to occur with deliberate purpose in order to either explore the characters or to progress Rhiannon’s discovery of Jake’s infidelity. This is particularly important given the lack of dialogue in the film’s short eight minute runtime, with most coming as Rhiannon enters on the phone to whom we presume is a friend, and as then again as the film draws to a conclusion, also over the phone. The lack of conflict between Rhiannon and Jake is at once both interesting and the film’s downfall. On the one hand it solidifies Rhiannon’s emotional isolation - with no one to even scream obscenities at - and allows the ambient sounds of Valentina Pappalardo’s divine score to perfectly illustrate Rhiannon’s internal handling of the situation, as she struggles to hold in her anger and accept the new reality of her life. However, it also means that the film lacks a dramatic centre point to stand on, never really reaching a point of emotional climax, rather frustrations just softly boil and remain ultimately unresolved.


Matt René’s directing is competent, if unremarkable, though you feel it is massively enhanced by the luscious score, and would otherwise become stale quickly. Dominique Moore is excellent as the torn Rhiannon, though her performance too feels incomplete without interacting, at least directly, with another character. Therefore, whilst ‘What We Did Yesterday’ is in parts effective, it feels half-baked, with the potential for more to enhance a solid film and smooth out some rough edges.

About the Film Critic
Joe Beck
Joe Beck
Short Film
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