Remember dinner parties? It seems like years ago that many of us gathered together just to be social. Andy Gershenzon’s Half Empty/Half Full is an excellent reminder that maybe dinners together are not such a great idea.
Our story features Bob and Jess (Andy Gershenzon and Mia Barron) hosting a dinner for their close friends, Evan and Laura (Stark Sands and Maria Thayer). The two couples have not gotten together for a while, so there’s quite a bit of catching up to do. I would describe the nature of this friendship as involving excessive amounts of “ballbusting.” Everyone lays into one another in a harsh, deeply personal, and “joking” manner.
“…Laura reveals that she’s now vegetarian while Jess discusses how she made the roast chicken that night.”
Speaking of catching up, Laura reveals that she’s now vegetarian while Jess discusses how she made the roast chicken that night. Oops. The conversations become increasingly intense throughout the night, forcing Bob and Jess to leave the room to “clean-up,” leaving Evan and Laura to figure out what the hell just happened. Tensions reach their highest when Laura reveals that she is finally pregnant. It’s not exactly the news that Jess wants to hear as she has also been trying to have a baby. Trying to be sensitive, the pregnant Laura downplays her good news by grabbing a second glass of wine.
There are a few things to point out with Half Empty/Half Full. First, the entire movie is shot in real-time from the beginning to the end. It’s not done as a single shot, though many of the segments are long takes. These scenes are filmed primarily in wide and medium angles, making you feel like an observer—almost like a stage play. It’s a little bothersome at times, but occasionally the camera gets close during some crucial yet intimate moments. But, I appreciate that though the film takes place in a single location and features only four actors, it rarely actually feels like a stage play.
"…get past that first act, and Half Empty/Half Full will reward you handsomely."