We long for a solution to our loneliness. We strive for the perfect relationship. We hope. We pray. We compromise. We dream. We fail. We start over.
Ava (Ashley Fuller) and Atticus (Francis C. Edemobi) are two people several months into a relationship that seems, for the most part idyllic. Ava has been hurt before and Fuller wears Ava's hurt not just externally but internally. Some would call it "baggage," I suppose, but as is always true we bring everything we've ever experienced in a relationship into our next relationship. Ava's woundedness feels soulful and Fuller leans into in a way that makes us realize that these wounds have become part of how she experiences relationships.
Atticus has his own issues that he brings, a perpetual loner who doesn't want to be alone and who leans into the idea that he can only be loved if he obtains a perfection that always seems out of reach. In some ways, he looks perfect and acts perfect and says perfect things. Alas, perfection is something he's always stretching for and it's in that striving that he sometimes misses what's directly in front of him.
Written and directed by Isaac F. Davis, Fall on Me is a three-act short film unique in presentation but not quite what I'd call experimental. Narratively, Fall on Me is cohesive but it's clear that Davis is seeking to explore both the internal and external influences we all experience as we seek to both find a solution for our loneliness and answer the simple question "Is this the one?"
Each act has its own unique voice and meaning. They aren't stand-alone yet the film is more effective because Davis chooses to separate them.
Both Fuller and Edemobi are strong here, both as individuals and in their times together as a couple. I will admit that I was most taken by Fuller, though I will also confess I most identify with Ava's woundedness and its influence on the relationship.
What's refreshing here, I suppose, is that Davis's script doesn't allow either Ava or Atticus to be demonized. There's no one here playing the "bad" one or the reason that there's always a lingering doubt hanging over the relationship. Indeed, there are times when relationships simply have a question mark even when everything seems, well, perfect. Davis obviously gets this and brings it to life vividly supported by his capable cast.
Lensing by Luis Hernandez is immersive and avoids manipulating the story. The camera never really tells us how this story is ultimately going to unfold. The same is true for the excellent original score by Shiro Sagisu. Both the lensing and the music help to companion the story without winking at us along the way.
Fall on Me is a quietly engaging film, a relatable story brought beautifully to life by Ashley Fuller and Francis C. Edemobi in a way that feels honest. Ultimately, unless Davis toys with us there are only a couple of ways for this story to play out that will resonate emotionally and Davis chooses to tell this story in a way that makes sense and leaves us in a place of thoughtful reflection.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic