Abigail Scollay’s directorial debut is an honest story about the changing nature of relationships and identity.
Alex (played by Jonathan Jude) and Sam (Aude des Pallieres), two teenagers dressed in school uniform, spend an evening together in a hotel room as they prepare to confront a big shift in their relationship. One caused by a secret (which I’ll leave the film to reveal) that threatens to reshape their romance, perhaps in irreparable ways.
Clearly tense about what’s to come, the two youngsters drink alcohol from the room’s mini fridge to loosen the atmosphere. Yet it is a piece of white candy – the type you would pretend to smoke as kids at school – that opens up the two to reflect on the past and confront their future. Can their relationship survive this change?
Scollay and her team do a magnificent job of transforming the hotel room setting into something mystical (through lighting) and deeply intimate (through camerawork). It is the perfect space for these two close friends to enter this new, alien territory in their relationship. What is most impressive though is Scollay’s use of space; the distance between the two lead characters – however big or small – can be felt in a way that is as powerful as any of the dialogue.
This intimate staging demands flawless performances from the two lead actors – and that’s what we get. Jude and des Pallieres bring the delicacy, care and depth necessary to make this short film work on an emotional level.
Him And Her is an impressively packaged debut from Scollay that doesn’t offer easy answers on a complex topic. The film’s inconclusive ending underlines just that.