"I tend to give up" was the thought that popped into my mind as I watched the simple, emotionally honest short film Alison, the story of two people in a seemingly ordinary relationship where one of the two begins to look over at the other and think to themselves "Is this really worth it?"
The two people in question, Jason (Kristopher Turner) and Alison (Jessica Rose), are returning home from a night on the town when we first meet them. It's a night that has left Alison more than a shade beyond intoxicated while Jason, the seemingly more grounded and mature of the two, is left to play protector, nurturer and, perhaps more silently than aloud, the judge.
It's obvious from Turner's not so subtle body language that this isn't likely the first time he's played this role in their relationship, the same outrageous and extroverted personality of Alison's that he likely first fell in love with now riding a fine line between entertaining and downright burdensome.
Again, "Is this really worth it?"
To their credit, director David Lester and Rose, who's the film's writer, don't play judge and jury in telling the story. While our initial sympathies are likely with the more even-keeled Jason, the truth is that Alison is such a likable gal, even intoxicated, that we rather quickly understand Jason's dilemma and we begin to see, as well, that there's something bubbling underneath that calm demeanor that makes it entirely possible that he's more than a little bit of the problem as well. Alison doesn't take a paint-by-numbers approach here in telling the story with neither Alison nor Jason overly burdensome or obnoxioux.
But then again, there was that thought that popped into my mind..."I tend to give up."
With me, there seems to always be a point where I look over at my partner and think to myself "Nope, this isn't worth it." It's not usually anything big, to be honest. If I'm being even more honest, more often than not I've actually been the problem.
I tend to give up way too easily.
Alison just had its online premiere on May 15th courtesy of the Canadian National Screen Institute Online Festival after a successful festival run and the film is also currently a Vimeo Staff Pick.
Yes, that means it's pretty darn good film.
The film benefits from a believable chemistry from the delightful Jessica Rose and, yes, the far more grounded Kristopher Turner. The two manage to sell their chemistry with one another while also creating a sense of the tension that exists during the early days of the "Is this really worth it?" period in a relationship.
Sometimes, it really is worth it. Sometimes, it really is not.
The film feels observational for the most part and is refreshingly devoid of gimmicks and unnecessary lensing experimentation. Alison isn't necessarily the kind of film that snags a lot of festival awards, but it's the kind of simple, honest story that tends to go over well with festival audiences. If you visit the film's website linked to in the credits to the left of this review, you can watch Alison for yourself.
Hopefully, you'll find it worth your time.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic