The plot of “Morning After” describes the indie short film as “a bold and playful drama that explores the subject of sexual fluidity and human desire.” While the film’s characters definitely explore those topics, the events that take place hardly classify the film as a drama. It plays more like a potential romantic comedy or feel-good film about self-discovery than a drama. It also states that is protagonist, Michael, has just returned from spending a long period of time studying abroad, and is now reunited with his friends.
However, after watching the film, it rings contrary to its introduction. Much of the plot base, like the fact that Michael has just returned from studying abroad and has reunited with people he has already known, is not communicated in the dialogue or actions of the film at all. This major failure to inform the viewer through the film, changes the way the events of the film are taken. That is, they carry much more weight if they are taking place at home, with people he already knew before he left, as opposed to strangers in another country. For a brief moment, I actually started to wonder if the reverse was taking place, and he was bonding with his flatmates in another country like South America.
For a film with so many plot complexities based on the description, it keeps it rather simple. While Michael’s character probably has the least amount of lines, the film does not contain much dialogue at all except for the first scene. Most of the important scenes of the film contain no dialogue at all. In the brief moments where words are being spoken they aren’t impactful the major events and scenes of the film. Some the most important personal moments to Michael seem to all take place in relative silence. This approach of utilizing the actor’s facial expressions and actions to express that he’s going through an emotional or characteristic change is definitely that of an interesting one that for me, I can’t seem to wrap my head around. It is an intriguing tactic to have the viewer simply watch what is going on and decide for themselves what the character is going through, as opposed to being muddled by dialogue in those moments, I don’t see the benefit.
Another aspect of the film that doesn’t seem to mesh well with its contents, is its brevity. The film is about 15 minutes long and contains little dialogue. Due to the fact that it is a short film, the journey of self-discovery for Michael is not long at all. However, the director, Patricia Chica, may have taken this approach to make a poignant point expressed in the film, that despite the fact Michael made this long journey abroad to look for himself, he found himself in the states. Perhaps the film brevity was chosen to make light of this point that the character did not need to go on this long, drawn our self-journey to find who he is. Personally, I would have liked to see his transformation take place over a long period of time. Especially since he has the least amount of lines, I feel as through a feature-length film would have been appropriate to allow the audience to get to know his character a bit.
Overall, the plot description of the film gave the idea that it was going to provide an interesting point of view on how sexuality can be fluid, but failed to do so. To be brief, if I hadn’t read the introduction, I probably would have thought it was a story about another shy male adult, learning to get past his social anxiety and feel comfortable in his own skin, and is doing so by going abroad and starting over. I don’t know if most short films rely on their text description (not shown in the film itself) to provide major context, but it certainly would have made the film better had the director been able to communicate this in the movie instead of allowing a quick description by the studio to carry the major context of her movie.