Every marriage is a story...
Noah (Drez Ryan) is an up-and-coming artist with big dreams and increasingly big debt. His wife, Madison (Chynna Walker), has willingly compromised her own big dreams to support the two with a job she hates but is becoming increasingly bitter about it. Their rocky road of being newlyweds is further complicated by the inevitable challenges the two face as an interracial couple surrounded by some who embrace their relationship and some who, well, simply don't.
Writer/director Christopher Hansen's Seven Short Films About (Our) Marriage unfolds as seven vignettes that tell the story of this marriage, an often tempestuous and tumultuous beast of a relationship that comes to life honestly and naturally thanks to the fine, complementary performances of co-leads Drez Ryan and Chynna Walker. To their credit, especially, there's never really a moment when we don't believe in their relationship no matter how much the drama amplifies and how much the stressors add up.
While the festival journey for Seven Short Films About (Our) Marriage has gotten off to a bit of a rocky start thanks to a world where COVID-19 is grabbing all the headlines and festivals are having to either shut down or postpone, one can only hope this is a temporary glitch in the festival scene and the world will get to see this honest, emotionally resonant film that should easily resonate with festival audiences and fans of quality indie cinema.
Seven Short Films About (Our) Marriage is worth the wait.
While it can be tricky to create a cohesive film out of seven vignettes, Hansen's structure gives us the privilege of following Noah and Madison on their emotional and physical journeys as they each change both individually and within the framework of their relationship. Early on, it doesn't quite feel like they're all going to manage to connect yet by film's end there's simply no denying that it all comes together quite sublimely. Both Noah and Madison go through the usual highs and lows of conflicts and tenderness, feeling disconnected and then reunited. Yet, what really makes Seven Short Films About (Our) Marriage really work is that it for the most part avoids the usual histrionics found in this type of film. Instead, each vignette lands with a surprising sense of normalcy as if it's a true manifestation of the next stage in their relationship. There's never really a false note played here - the story that unfolds feels genuine.
Both Ryan and Walker are incredibly strong here, their lives as individuals and within the relationship feeling honest and fluid. Both performers handle the highs and the lows with equal ease, their creative sides seemingly serving as the spark that lights the way between them and, in many ways, the spark that lights the way from vignette to vignette.
Adrian Walther's original score complements the film's highs and lows quite nicely, while D.P. Aaron Youngblood's lensing is unafraid to get uncomfortably intimate and at times seems to be a third character in the mix.
An intelligent and engaging film with a story that will resonate and linger in your mind long after the closing credits have rolled and you've left the theatre, Seven Short Films About (Our) Marriage is just getting started on what should be a lengthy, rewarding festival journey. For more information on the film, visit its official website linked to in the credits.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic