There's falling in love. There's falling out of love.
Then, there's emasculation.
An eight-minute short from writer/director Miles Trahan, Emasculation
is the story of a seemingly ordinary young couple on what seems like an ordinary date at a local restaurant. Our young man (Ryan Castro) seems initially oblivious to there being anything going on that would interrupt his sense of domestic bliss. Then, there's a "look" from her (Jessica Lamdon). You know the look, don't you? It's that look of "I've got something I need to tell you."
Oh, how I hate to hear that phrase.
Over the course of the next few minutes, this young couple won't so much process as they will purge. She will attempt to explain, while he will attempt to listen without experiencing that godawful feeling of having his balls ripped out from between his legs.
She will mostly succeed. For the most part, he won't.
The disintegration of a love affair isn't meant to be a comfortable thing, and kudos must be given to D.P. Conroy Sunshine for camera work that is simultaneously intimate and disorienting. The film's close-ups are at first unnerving, yet there's also this sense of being woven into the emotional turmoil as it's unfolding. Filmed for the most part in one location, Emasculation
at times feels claustrophobic and jarring just as life often does in those final, fleeting moments of a burned out relationship when you desperately want to go but something is compelling you to stay.
Our two leads are both strong, with Ryan Castro evoking a sense of wounded masculinity and bewilderment. It's a joy watching his body language, especially in the film's final moments and with an ever so slight sudden shift at the end that fits just perfectly. Jessica Lamdon brings to mind Zooey Deschanel's turn in the underrated (500) Days of Summer,
a film with a similarly uncomfortable break-up but followed by infinitely more processing. Lamdon nicely captures the awkwardness of initiating "the conversation" and the inevitable fumbling that goes on while trying to grasp the right words to say "This is over."
While she's only in the film briefly, supporting player Mika Matsutani shines in that brief appearance as our young couple's waitress.
is casually paced and reveals itself naturally without ever feeling forced. These final conversations always feel so incredibly long, but Trahan has packed quite a bit in the way of spoken and unspoken dialogue within the film's eight minutes and eight minutes feels just about right.
For more information on Emasculation,
visit the film's website
. As a special treat, you can watch the entire film above!
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic