Writer/director Joseph McGovern's All Over Again tells the story of Gregory (Joseph Fuoco), an aging guitarist who has lost his creative spark along life's journey. Over the course of the film's 18-minute running time, Gregory re-discovers that spark and finds the courage to start playing again.
All Over Again has picked up a handful of awards and nominations along its festival journey, mostly in the usual indie/micro outlets such as Atlantic City Cinefest (Winner of Best Actor, Short Drama (Fuoco), Best Director, Short Drama (McGovern), Baretower Forge World Film Competition (Best Sound Design, Matthew Amadio), Depth of Field International Film Festival Competition (Award of Exceptional Merit, Viewer Impact; Award of Merit for Short Film Drama and Original Concept), Top Shorts Film Festival (Best Song), and a Bronze Remi from WorldFest Houston for Original Dramatic Short.
All Over Again benefits greatly from Joseph Fuoco's natural, laid back style and the kind of honest presence that quickly draws you into his quietly little inspirational dilemma. Gregory is clearly a good guy, a loving family man whose dreams have been put on the backburner while he tended to the demands of being a husband and father. It's not that he so much has regrets as he simply has unfulfilled dreams and the realization that the window for fulfilling them has likely slipped away. It's something many of us face, in ways big and small, as we hit our later years in life and begin to realize that the things that fueled us in our 20's and 30's have often been set aside in favor of practical matters.
All Over Again would have likely been a bit more satisfying of a story had Mcgovern simply rested the film in Fuoco's more than capable hands, the simple story more than enough to meet the demands of an 18-minute short film. Instead, the film's early scenes spend a little too much time building up the open stage experience itself, a montage of vaguely interesting wannabes young and old, mostly young, who are just beginning to learn how to use their creative voices.
Gregory, it would seem, is different.
Once All Over Again focuses almost exclusively on Gregory and his relationship to music, it becomes an immensely more satisfying film. Again, much of this is due to Fuoco's performance and the satisfying performance of Constance Reshey as his beloved.
Lensing by McGovern and Paul DuVilla is effective in creating a sense of the ordinariness of the open stage experience, yet balancing that with the fact that for Gregory it's anything but ordinary. While low-budget indies seem to frequently struggle to nail the sound mix, Amadio's sound editing is, indeed, mostly effective in balancing spoken dialogue and the film's solid utilization of music.
All Over Again isn't necessarily a masterpiece, but it's a quietly inspirational short film with the appealing message that it's never too late to pursue one's dreams.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic