By Mark Bell | June 10, 2013

Set in Trinidad and Tobago, M. Omari Jackson’s feature film, Between Friends, is an adult drama that investigates the overlapping conflicts of a group of friends and family. Heavy on conversation about sex and interpersonal dynamics, the film subtly weaves a tale that hits with a surprising emotional impact by the final credits.

Teenager Mia (Vanna Girod) is in a relationship with an older man, Dennis (Wayne Lee- Sing). Malik (Gregory Pollonais) is pining after his best friend Giselle (Taromi Joseph), who is content to keep their relationship friends-only. Kimani (Kearn Samuel) buries his vulnerability in love by sleeping around. Leanne (Stacy Clarke) is worried her husband might be cheating on her. Without revealing too much more, all these characters and more wind up drastically impacting each other’s lives in unexpected ways.

Not big on hand-holding the audience, the film introduces its sizable ensemble cast and lets the various storylines play out. You feel a little lost initially, and other times it couldn’t be more obvious. Overall, though, the framework is being set up for the revelations of the final act, whether you consciously realize it or not.

And that’s the risk, because it is interesting but it isn’t always entirely engaging in the moment; my mind wandered from time to time. Again however, by the final act, the film delivers on promises you didn’t even know it was making. But if you’re not into the calm vibe or the relaxed pacing to get there, it’d be easy to fall out of the flow. Short attention spans need not apply, simply.

Credit needs to be given to the cast, however, for doing such a wonderful job throughout. Sure, there’s a stumble here or there in a line delivery, but nothing so terrible as to warrant specific noting. Considering so many different characters have to carry the day at different points, it is notable, however, that all are up to the task.

In the end, Between Friends is a quality ensemble film that rewards your emotional investment, on whatever level you settle on. I wasn’t always engaged as it went along, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deliver a couple brutal emotional gut-punches by the end.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

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