January 24th, 2011 | Published in Film
I’m trying to figure out a way to describe how painful this short is to watch without sounding like I didn’t like it. It’s painful in the best way possible. I know that that seems like a misleading statement but “After You Left” is honestly and wonderfully painful.
“After You Left” is minimalist filmmaking at it’s best. Proof that you don’t need millions of dollars to affect viewers. All you need is a story that connects with people. “After You Left” is a poignant short about heartbreak and the journey that follows that truly connects.
Matt is a man trying to figure out what life is after his girlfriend leaves him. The short hits very close to home for anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of a break-up. Matt, like most people, is going through the motions of trying to fill the gaps left by Sara. He puts on a bold face in hopes of trying to make a shitty situation better by surrounding himself with friends. Most of who have no idea how to help. While all friends mean well, most of them only typically say what they think we want to hear. While that helps for the briefest of moments, we usually go home feeling the same way we did when we woke up that morning. Jef Taylor captures those moments perfectly here. It almost feels as if he found a couple that was on the verge of breaking up and asked if he could capture the aftermath on tape. The film claims to be mostly improvised and in that case I think a lot of credit is also owed to Michael Tisdale, who plays the main character Matt. Tisdale is brilliant as the lost man in search of something, anything that makes sense or will just, for a short time, dull the pain. He’s everyman who has ever had his heart broken, and that is the best and most painful part of this film.
The film is very raw and wonderfully edited. The narrative cuts perfectly between Matt’s immediate actions and the post breakup conversation between Matt and Sara. (You know that painful conversation where you want to kill the other person because of the pain they’ve caused you, but you would also kiss them the second you thought it was ok) It’s that conversation that really gives the film its soul. Matt shares these brief moments with friends who do their best to take his mind off Sara but when we cut to Sara and Matt in the diner, all those emotions come flooding back.
I really enjoyed this film for its ability to plug right into me and I don’t think the other people lucky enough to see it will have a hard time feeling the same way. It’s messy and wonderful, just like life.
“After You Left” is an Official Selection at this years Sundance Film Festival.
You can find more information at the Films Official Site
and more from Jef Taylor and Michael Tisdale at Leaky Tent Films