4 out of 5 stars
‘Time moves too fast’
This statement can be shared with young and old alike. Yet, why is it the one thing that we tend to waste the most of in this life? Since it keeps moving along without even any thought or effort, time is one of those things that we easily slip through our fingers. An experience of many in this world, until the day they wake up and wonder where it all went. This discussion of time is the driving force behind writer/director Josh Lawson’s latest romantic comedy, Long Story Short.
It all begins with an innocent kiss between two strangers on New Year’s Eve on the beautiful Sydney Harbour. Teddy (Rate Spall) and Leanne (Zahra Newman) begin their love affair. Eventually, they find themselves in a long-standing relationship from this one serendipitous moment. Teddy promises to marry the love of his life, but continually procrastinates proposing and setting the date. Until the couple has a bizarre encounter with a stranger played by Noni Hazlehurst (Ladies in Black), they set a date and finally tie the knot. All seems to be going fine until they go through some of their wedding gifts on their honeymoon night. Upon the discovery of a mysterious package, things begin to move in fast forward for Teddy.
This is not an exaggeration; the newly wedded groom finds himself transported ahead in this life by precisely one year. He finds himself confronted by the fact that life has moved on without him. The events keep occurring and he does not seem to have a means of controlling them or making them stop. Even when he reaches out to his best friend Sam (Ronny Chieng) for help, nothing seems to slow down this rapid spiral into madness and confusion. As time continues to race by for Teddy, he must determine how he can save his marriage, family and sanity by trying to get off this speed train of destiny.
This film was made in the spirit of It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol and a dash of Groundhog Day added in for good measure. Lawson has pulled off a whimsical and charming story about the value of each minute of life. Despite being wrapped up in a cute romantic comedy trope, he has managed to add a new twist on a familiar time-travelling trope.
Long Story Short could be dismissed as another mystical rom-com. Still, the real-life themes that are addressed make this a movie worth considering. As each minute or year progresses, Teddy must confront the adult situations that take most of us years to consider. He must address the value of love, marriage, family, friendship, and faithfulness, along with the harsh truths of life and death. Not that it does not have its funnier moments and enough romance to make this the perfect date night movie. Yet, it will potentially lead to deep and rich conversations for couples to consider beyond where to go for a meal after seeing the film.
The key to any good rom-com working is the chemistry between the lead actors. Spall and Newman manage to hold on to one another and make their relationship not only believable, but one that you will cheer for until the end. Another bonus: the comedic and heartwarming performance of Ronny Chieng. This helps to turn it into a whirlwind romance that will make anyone want to go home and hug your Mum, loved one, and best friend.
Josh Lawson takes from the playbook of many British romantic comedies and does interject a significant amount of foul language. Still, the message of this film does make up for this writing element, which does provide audiences with a delightful and thought-provoking choice for their date night considerations.
Now, go call your spouse and tell them you love them… Life is too short not to do it right now.
REEL DIALOGUE - Are people of faith allowed to be romantic?
Romance has been apart of literature, music, plays and films throughout the centuries, but can it be found in the Bible? God can be considered the creator of all things and romance is one of his best creations. This statement may sound bizarre to some, but the Bible is viewed as a love letter to His creation.
Also, within the context of a pure and committed marriage relationship, romance is a means of increasing the enjoyment of love for one another and even God. The Song of Solomon is a book that is filled with romantic demonstrations of love between a bride and groom. Displays of affection that are encouraged and applauded by God as a part of his inspired word.