Lock Love | Film reviews | Salt Lake City

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I wasn’t ready for the emotional roller coaster Together. It’s funny and sad, sometimes in the same breath. It’s such a fresh and raw film that it almost feels like you shouldn’t watch it, and in more ways than one. It’s absolutely prodigious, a small – so small – film that is hugely moving, and so much bigger than it looks. So much more meaningful.

It’s the story of the first year of the coronavirus pandemic through the eyes of a London couple, who are never named and are referred to in the credits as simply him and her. It might have passed for a cheap gimmick, except that the intimacy with which their lives are portrayed never allows it. Together is it just him and her (James McAvoy and Sharon Horgan) talking to each other, and how often do you say someone’s name in such a context? (You won’t even notice that they never say their name.) They also, very frequently, speak directly to the camera, directly to us, laughing and joking, raging and crying about the love-hate relationship. that they endured – or so they say – solely for the sake of their young son, Arthur (SamuelLogan).

The kid mostly hovers in the background, when he’s around. In this regard, Together has a lot in common with Horgan’s brilliant Channel 4/Amazon Prime sitcom Disaster, both stories in which parenthood is seen purely from the parent’s perspective, with no cutesy hogging the screen or our sympathies. This conceit also serves to underscore the reality, often overlooked in pop culture portrayals, that people are what parents are not. alone parents.

He and she also talk to each other in their own home… and in fact, only once beyond the confines of their large open kitchen, dining room and living space. The exception: a scene in the small courtyard right next to their kitchen. Together brings new comfort to the notion of domestic drama.

All this intimacy, both physical and psychological, is like a knife cutting through the bullshit of many similar stories, obliterating the fact that love and hate can simply be opposite sides of the same coin in passionate relationships like the one sketched here. They are two people who know how to hurt each other, and do it often. But how truly dedicated they are to each other is something that isn’t revealed until late in the story, almost a matter of anti-suspense, something we didn’t even realize we had. she was in question.

Their personal and shared ups and downs are also being played out in the most stressful and turbulent context: the pandemic. Depending on how fragile your mindset (and maybe still is) about how the world has been thrown into disarray, you might feel, like me, that it was too soon. Together inevitably speaks to this exact moment, a slow-burning catastrophe that’s still in motion, and it stings psychological wounds that aren’t even healed yet, let alone healed. It will no doubt be seen as a treasured time capsule from March 2020 to March 2021, particularly as experienced in London as the UK moved in and out of some of the strictest lockdowns in the western world. during the year. But for all those who continue to struggle with anxiety over a pandemic that is still out of control, Together can be overwhelming, and not necessarily in a pleasant way.

This feeling of being overwhelmed is only compounded by the intense and sharp performances of McAvoy and Horgan. Director StephenDaldry gives them long, uncut takes in which anger, grief, fear, relief and other extreme emotions play out, often with the actors making direct eye contact with us, which is deeply compelling and empathetic. The film was shot quickly, in just 10 days, and is so urgent and honest that it feels improvised, albeit tightly scripted, by Dennis Kelly. Together combines the power of film with the immediacy of theater for an experience so close to reality it’s almost too much to take.

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