In the opening moments of writer/director Iain Cash's short film Dear John, I'm Sorry, we're immersed in the reality that this poignant, incredibly moving film is based upon a true story. These words come back into our hearts and minds as the story unfolds.
The story itself is simple, I suppose. A man receives a letter from his long beloved neighbors, the film's narration provided by the writer of that letter (Maggie Hall) with the contents guiding us toward the film's resolution as the man begins to realize that what at first seems like a simple letter of gratitude is actually much more.
Dear John, I'm Sorry is a powerful film that explores a myriad of issues in its eight minutes and tells the story it needs to tell without a moment wasted. It's a story of life and loss, love and all its complexities, and the inevitable grief that comes when we surrender our lives to someone we love.
It's hard to say the film is beautifully acted, though the final moments of Dear John, I'm Sorry are more emotionally resonant than a good majority of feature-length films. However, one must give kudos to the resolute, bittersweet vocals provided by Maggie Hall, a relative newcomer to cinema, as she says a lifetime of things in this one remarkable letter and Hall brings it all lovingly to life.
Dear John, I'm Sorry is nearing the end of its festival journey having been well received. It's the kind of indie short that audiences love to discover with its honesty and strong storytelling. This U.K.-based short doesn't waste a word or an image and yet also refreshingly avoids unnecessary histrionics. Quite simply, the letter itself is enough.
Tim Follin's lensing is effective throughout in building both an intimacy and an anxiety. Ian McLoughlin's original score provides a sublime emotional companion to the film's simple, familiar yet remarkable story. Kudos must also be given for Dan Corsten's sound design, a strong achievement for an indie short that maintains great consistency throughout the film and keeps us from being distracted from the story.
Dear John, I'm Sorry will likely resonate with anyone who appreciates strong indie storytelling. If you get the chance, I definitely recommend checking out Iain Cash's memorable Dear John, I'm Sorry.