Short of the Week

Long Branch

On a cold winter’s night, Lynn’s quest for a one night stand is complicated when the guy she goes home with lives two hours away via public transit.

The scenario of Long Branch seems like a great concept for one of those “punch line” shorts: a young woman’s quest for a one night stand is complicated when the guy she goes home with lives two hours away by public transit. But the film movingly transcends its humorous premise to find genuine romance.

We meet Lynn and Gray (their names in the IMDB credits, since they’re never actually named in the film) kissing passionately outside of some club in the middle of winter. Lynn’s determination to go home with the slightly dorky Gray has an angry edge to it, and even when she finds out how far away he lives, she’s committed to her plan. They continue to kiss passionately on the subway train, but eventually lust turns to awkward boredom as the trip wears on. And on.

As we follow the couple first onto the subway and then a bus, the awkwardness is funny. But Gray really wants to get to know Lynn, and her resistance to anything but the most superficial communication reveals some of the pain she’s hiding. Her refusal to answer her constantly-ringing cellphone is another clue to what she’s trying to run away from.

By the time they arrive at Gray’s place on his bicycle(!), we’re aware that this isn’t going to be a one-night stand at all.

Long Branch is carried by its well-written script and the winning performances of Jenny Raven and Alex House. The delicate balance of lust and romance, and the age-old dilemma of young people struggling with less-than-ideal living arrangements give this film universal appeal, but what I loved were the many local touches. As a Torontonian, it’s not often I get the chance to see my city portrayed on film. Oh, lots of films are shot here, but they’re usually set in New York or Chicago. At one point, Lynn is aghast at discovering where Gray lives: “You’re a 905′er?” It was funny to hear this pejorative reference to the area code for the exurbs of Toronto in a film.

It was also wonderful to see our vast and underappreciated transit system on screen. As someone who once dated a woman 15 subway stops and a bus ride away, I could feel the passion-killing distance very keenly. But I also felt the spark that kept these two from simply giving up their almost ludicrous quest to spend the night together. And at 14 minutes, the film is just long enough for us to see into the heart of their budding relationship. Here’s a case where the short film format is a perfect container for this delicate love story.

The filmmakers have created an Indiegogo campaign for their next project, a “romantic thriller” feature film called I Put a Hit on You. If you liked Long Branch, please consider helping them get this one off the ground.

~
James lives in Toronto and blogs about film at Toronto Screen Shots. His interest in short film led him to establish the quarterly screening series Shorts That Are Not Pants. Follow him on Twitter: @TOscreenshots and @shortsnotpants.
  • http://www.lucky9studios.com/ Ivan Kander

    Fantastic film! And, fantastic write-up, James!

  • Eva, Italy

    So local, but so global too -great screenplay, bittersweet, funny and conscious portrait of a generation who lives precariously, on all accounts… how much I understand both of them, even if I’m older :)

  • Eva, Italy

    So local, but so global too -great screenplay, bittersweet, funny and conscious portrait of a generation who lives precariously, on all accounts… how much I understand both of them, even if I’m older :)

  • http://www.andrewsallen.com Andrew S Allen

    Both funny and touching in a very subtle and natural way—not easy to pull off. Nice find and great review, Ivan and James!

  • Jojo23

    Available with english and french subtitles here: http://youtu.be/blNfM-uIPHA

  • Graham

    Pretty banal and generic. I really dislike films/novels that appear like the creator’s fantasy. I feel like I should write something positive but I really hate films like these. People do often wish (at times secretly) one night stands to lead to something more fulfilling and that is why there are many films that have similar premises.

  • Graham

    Pretty banal and generic. I really dislike films/novels that appear like the creator’s fantasy. I feel like I should write something positive but I really hate films like these. People do often wish (at times secretly) one night stands to lead to something more fulfilling and that is why there are many films that have similar premises.

  • Gentry W.

    LOVE the concept and story of this. So simple and the actors cast were perfect.

  • carl

    Does anybody know any full length movies similar to this? I love it!

  • Randy Valdes

    This was great, simple but very captivating. The cinematography was very strong.

  • Ampa

    I loveee it <3

  • kevalv95

    This is truly genuine as well as great cinematography. I loved it!

  • Koshka

    very lovely and heart warming in this cold weather. Thanks !

  • http://www.lizhover.com Liz Hover

    Love, love, love. Great to see this film getting so much online exposure.

  • Jim Henshaw

    thank you so much. What a beautiful film.

  • che

    loved it.

  • Murat G.

    a little bit different but you should watch buffalo 66′

  • Bobby

    Who hurt you?

  • ramble

    soo perfect.. now if only i could figure out the names of those two great songs featured… *sigh*

  • http://twitter.com/manueljuanjuan Manuel Juan Juan

    Awesome!

  • Graham

    So I must have been hurt because I don’t engage in one night stands in hopes that it might lead somewhere….. Anyways, it’s called opinions. Live and let live.

  • Graham

    So I must have been hurt because I don’t engage in one night stands in hopes that it might lead somewhere….. Anyways, it’s called opinions. Live and let live.

  • Graham

    So I must have been hurt because I don’t engage in one night stands in hopes that it might lead somewhere….. Anyways, it’s called opinions. Live and let live.

  • Graham

    So I must have been hurt because I don’t engage in one night stands in hopes that it might lead somewhere….. Anyways, it’s called opinions. Live and let live.

  • Graham

    So I must have been hurt because I don’t engage in one night stands in hopes that it might lead somewhere….. Anyways, it’s called opinions. Live and let live.

  • Graham

    So I must have been hurt because I don’t engage in one night stands in hopes that it might lead somewhere….. Anyways, it’s called opinions. Live and let live.

  • Graham

    So I must have been hurt because I don’t engage in one night stands in hopes that it might lead somewhere….. Anyways, it’s called opinions. Live and let live.

  • http://twitter.com/RRRDivoz Mr. Divöz

    Not to good, not to bad :P

  • http://twitter.com/RRRDivoz Mr. Divöz

    Not to good, not to bad :P

  • Valeria, Italy

    Ah me too…I’m probably their age.
    I really liked it… As the comment just down here says, “people do often wish (at times secretly) one night stands to lead to something more fulfilling and that is why there are many films that have similar premises” It’s completely true, but according to me this is precisely why this short movie is so nice. It depicts most people’s wishes but still it’s not a fairytale at all.

  • Valeria, Italy

    Ah me too…I’m probably their age.
    I really liked it… As the comment just down here says, “people do often wish (at times secretly) one night stands to lead to something more fulfilling and that is why there are many films that have similar premises” It’s completely true, but according to me this is precisely why this short movie is so nice. It depicts most people’s wishes but still it’s not a fairytale at all.

  • Simone

    Right off the bat I thought, “hey! I know this street.” Amazing short + it’s cool that I live nearby. Love it, keep them coming!

  • sam

    this was really, really fucking good. Very well done without being overly cliche. Keep up the work

  • ashi

    good screenplay funny and heart touching too !

  • ashi

    good screenplay funny and heart touching too !