Being one of the countless unemployed in this day-and-age sucks, no question about it. A job enhances one’s sense of purpose in life, and the seemingly never-ending, often harsh cycle of application and rejection will quite possibly instill in someone a feeling of hopelessness or despair. Having a significant other to weather the tough times can be a lifesaver, especially if he or she is as supportive as Amy (Brooke Burfitt) is for Paul (David Blood) in the short film, Falling.
It’s been some time since Paul has had a job, and the prospect of prolonged unemployment has left him despondent to the point of not eating much. This situation has left Paul feeling emasculated to some extent. For her part, Amy is the one with the job and brings in whatever meager income she can. But she also feels the heat and is slowly becoming overwhelmed by their circumstance and position as the sole breadwinner.
A ray of hope seeps through one day when a friend of Paul turns him onto a potential job opportunity. Unrealistically but essential for moving the plot forward, Paul has an immediate phone interview. Before you can say, “I got the job,” Paul has the job, and the couple begins to see the light at the end of their bleak tunnel.
“…the prospect of prolonged unemployment has left him despondent to the point of not eating much.”
Flash-forward a year, and things are on the up-and-up for Paul: “I finally feel like my life is getting back to normal again,” Paul mentions to his boss. Yet if Paul thought his situation sucked before, it’s about to suck even more.
The best thing about Falling, hands down, is the casting. Blood and Burfitt make for an ideal couple. Both actors project a simple, yet slightly desperate demeanor that lends Paul and Amy’s situation a measure of verisimilitude that it might not otherwise have been able to convey so frankly. Paul and Amy are deeply in love and profoundly care for one another’s happiness and success. Theirs is the type of relationship that would be at home in a Hallmark movie. Indeed, Falling resembles such a melodrama in a scene midway through the film that sees the two doing couple-y things in a field, cuddling and enjoying each other.
However, the major problem with Falling is that the movie just doesn’t say much that the average person wouldn’t already be aware of. It is not a groundbreaking proposition that unemployment is emotionally draining and financially strenuous. When a struggling person finally lands a job, a feeling of elation is expected and enjoyed. Of course, it would be devastating if things shouldn’t turn out exactly as planned. What is this film telling us that we wouldn’t already know? What truth is the short trying to illuminate through the dire scenario of Paul and Amy?
The screenplay by writer-director Lee Hampton has a natural and unexaggerated quality, and Hampton directs his actors with an eye toward unpretentiousness; nothing about Falling or the performances by Blood and Burfitt feels forced or strained. But to what end? What good are stupendous performances in a beautiful film if it has nothing to say?
"…being one of the countless unemployed in this day and age sucks..."