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The Independent Critic

Della Saba, Sam Nelson Harris
Colby Day
12 Mins.

 "Lead/Follow" Explores the Awkward Dance of Relationship 
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Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy and girl have baggage. 

This is the world explored in writer/director Colby Day's inspired, fluidly experimental short film Lead/Follow. Lead/Follow introduces us to a boy we know only as He (Sam Nelson Harris, lead singer of X Ambassadors) and a girl we know only as She (Della Saba, Physical) as they meet, make cute, make love, and learn how to deal with the baggage that each brings to the relationship.

Shot in one take and told through dance, Lead/Follow is a rather low-key work of wonder that benefits greatly from the vulnerability and honesty served up by both Harris and Nelson as they weave a tapestry of little delights and terrifying moments of insecurity and doubt. 

Lead/Follow works best precisely because neither Harris nor Saba would qualify as professional dancers. While Harris is best known for his work with X Ambassadors, he's appeared in films such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Suicide Squad, and 2019's Hellboy. In interviews, Harris has shared his fascination with dance and you can feel that fascination as he leans into the storytelling that comes to life here. While Harris's technique is absolutely fine, it's his physical storytelling here that is truly inspired. 

The same is true for Saba, an actress perhaps more known for her vocal work who beautifully gives into the physicality of storytelling and the wonder within her body and the chemistry she and Harris create. It's an absolute joy watching Saba, her spoken words and her dancing body aligning with perfection.

Arlene Muller's lensing captures it all wondrously throughout with a creativity and naturalness that is less consumed by perfection and more consumed by honest. Every image that unfolds here feels honest and transformative.  Transformative is an ideal word, as well, for the original music of Luke Burba. 

If you had met me earlier in my young adult years, you'd have met a wheelchair user who openly proclaimed that when I met the woman with whom I felt natural dancing then I would have met the woman I would marry. 

I meant it with every fiber of my being and, in a certain way, Lead/Follow explains it all perfectly as we watch the awkward dance of flirtation, intimacy, doubt, fear, and exhilaration all unfold before our eyes as this physical dance that unfolds mirrors the awkward yet brilliant dance that unfolds so often as we give ourselves to one another bringing all that we are into relationships. 

We lead. We follow. We meet. We fall in love. We have baggage. 

And so it is.

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic