You can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family. In Michael Cooke’s short film Care & Repair, a brother regrets having to carry his younger sibling. Stevie (Michael Cooke) and Neil (Hunter Bishop) are two working-class gents doing work for their hard-a*s contractor boss, Geo (Duncan Airlie James). Feeling a bit of familial responsibility, Stevie brings his slacker brother, John (John Cooke), along to make him a man and earn his keep.
Stevie takes his work seriously, while John’s easygoing attitude toward everything really puts him off. As the trio is tasked with removing an old water heater for an equally old customer (Perry Costello), Stevie and John are constantly bickering. Stevie is annoyed with John’s attitude, and John hates being treated like a child. When John is needed to go under the floorboards, he discovers an old box, and its contents set off a series of events that test the bonds of family loyalty.
“Stevie is annoyed with John’s attitude, and John hates being treated like a child.”
Care & Repair asks how far you would go for your family. John’s happy-go-lucky attitude toward life sets off a series of events that force Stevie to be a protector, rectifier, and priest to his younger immature brother—a burden only siblings can know.
Though John Cooke as John takes center stage through most of the film, it’s Michael Cooke as Stevie who carries the emotional burden of the film. Care & Repair explores issues of family, friendship, and loyalty. Michael invests a great deal of energy, time, and reputation toward his younger brother but doesn’t necessarily receive it back.
If this were an American tale, wacky and silly would have been the direction this tale would have taken and probably not been any good. I enjoy the fact that Care & Repair chose to keep the story and its antics grounded—never letting the story get out of control as the events of the story do. It’s hard not to feel sympathy as his world falls apart at his brother’s hands.
"…explores issues of family, friendship, and loyalty."