Love is a matter of perception...
Tristan (Ross Marquand) has fallen head over heels for Trisha (Sharina Martin). He showers her with love and affection and promises to be the perfect guardian for her son, Landon (Nathan Randall). He's ready to make the next step, but first Trisha must choose between him and her ex-husband, Matt (Jeff Garretson), who is quickly learning the truth about his competitor.
A recent release from the fine folks at the Midwest-based Glass City Films, Happily After
is an unusually quirky and dark film in which love never quite turns out as expected and, indeed, love is a matter of perception.
It is best to abandon any sense of logic while watching Happily After,
a film that seems to take a bit of a perverse glee in heading down what seems like one clearly defined path only to leave the viewer a bit disjointed and in an entirely different location as everything begins to unfold and our story begins to look incredibly, incredibly different. As it seems that Trisha has made up her mind, we've resigned ourselves to the way the story is going to unfold then...
It changes again.
As Tristan, Ross Marquand creates for an interesting character study in the way he projects himself initially as a suave, charming young man who completely enchants Trisha. As bits and pieces of Tristan began to be revealed, Marquand patiently peels back the layers of his character ever so slowly and never quite revealing the entire picture. Similarly, Sharina Martin's Trisha is a study in complexity as a woman who seems both intrigued and alarmed by the over-attentive Tristan. As Matt, Trisha's jealous ex-husband and the one who starts to piece together the puzzle, Jeff Garretson appears to be the grounded one of the bunch. However, as we've firmly established, love is a matter of perception.
So is life.
A modestly budgeted indie, Happily After
is occasionally hindered by its hit-and-miss acting. While this is quite often true among lower budget films, it becomes a tad more noticeable here in a film that requires that multiple layers exist within its characters. It's especially true among the film's supporting players, a disparity that at times creates a bit of a jarring experience when shifting from one character to the next.
D.P. Justin Cameron's camera work is fine, though the fading in and out special effect reflecting flashbacks and scene changes is a touch over-utilized and occasionally a bit distracting as the fade tends to be slowly realized and creates a blurry shot a few seconds at a time. Leo Schwartz's original score companions the film quite nicely, capturing both the darkness and the humor.
Billed as a "twisted take on romantic comedies," Happily After
is long on twisted and short on actual comedy. While the film itself is a bold and interesting cinematic experiment, the characters aren't particularly interesting and given the film's rather dramatic arc it's difficult to become invested in their stories.
For more information on the film's DVD, visit the Glass City Films website.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic