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Are You Looking After Yourself? by Ben Clifford - Short, Drama - After feeling his wife has checked out mentally, a young father bonds with a widower in his neighborhood over a shared sense of loss. 18 pages - pdf format
Well written, for all the dialog that was short and to the point. The story read well and I could see it leading to something... I just didn't get the something / end? JOHN - I want to tell you about something - this dream I keep having. --What did I miss?
Thanks for sharing "Are You Looking After Yourself?" it was a fun read.
I think I understand John and Alex's motivation, deep down they are both looking for companionship to fill a void. The story does a good job of meeting that. However, I don't quite follow how the Farmhouse senes (with Gerald and Daisy) adds to the story. There's tension between John and Gerald but I don't see how that effects John and Alex, am I missing something? How does Daisy impact the overall story?
I interpreted John's dream of driving into the river as he feels like his relationship with Annette is underwater/drowning and he's looking for a new start. Another way I interpreted it was Annette was drowning herself in and taking the relationship with John and Hayward with her.
The scene about lasagna mistaken for the paisly shirt was well written and make me chuckle.
Interesting, tentative story. Its lack of resolution will frustrate some. I hoped for a little more too at the end but I enjoyed the read up to that. That's sometimes the experience we have with a film. You are with it all the way through...then it just ends.
There is a compliment in there though, the fact that you had me engaged throughout is definitely a positive. These felt like real characters. You nimbly set up, I would say, four story strands that get us asking questions. What happened to Alex's wife? What is the history between John and Alex? What's up with Annette? What's the significance of the dream?
We find out a bit about Alex's wife, we know she died recently and Elijah is still coming to terms with it, Alex too. A previous intimacy is confirmed between John and Alex as well. The moment when John sees Alex comfort his son at his bedside and checks himself, knows he shouldn't be doing what he's doing (at least not at this moment anyway, in this way) is a powerful moment. It is well executed and without words.
The third strand is left very much up in the air though...or did I miss something? What is up with Annette? Is she grieving the loss of Alex's wife? We know that both families are friends but how close (John and Alex's situation aside) were they? There is no indication that Annette and Alex's wife were best friends or anything. Has she turned to alcohol because of something else? She seems to be depressed. I doubt she knows of John's homosexuality, at least that is not implied.
Finally, the dream's meaning in all this is also kept mysterious, merely teased before we CUT TO BLACK. I was pondering what it might represent in the context of the story. I really want to know what that book said! Is it connected to his homosexuality and that he is kind of living a lie in this relationship? Does he feel like a fraud, an inadequate dad, is that why he wants to drive the car into the river. He doesn't seem to know, or maybe he is just saying that. In his heart of hearts, he must.
Everything feels deliberate and purposeful rather than random and opaque for random and opaque's sake. Hence, I'm left thinking what that dead dog is meant to represent too. Overall, I liked what you attempted here, I like the pacing and careful observation of small moments.