They say that life flashes before your eyes when you’re about to die. Then I suppose that bumping into your ex is much like dying. Only it’s not your whole life, it’s just the time you shared together (the good, the bad and the ugly), that comes crashing back in a single heartbeat. Written, shot and edited in just 46 hours, Nathan Presley perfectly captures that fleeting moment in his five minute film Try For You. A captivating study of love lost, this short is so charming and affecting it tightens the emotional screws and leaves a lump in the back of the throat.
Try For You tells the story of two ex-lovers who accidentally run into each other in the street. The awkward meeting stirs up long forgotten thoughts and feelings, as Michelle reflects on their relationship and the impact it’s had on her life. The idea is simple but effective, and superbly executed.
Presley admits that it’s always a struggle to finish a project, so the tight deadline of the 48hr film challenge was a welcome restriction. The director and his team worked tirelessly for two days, putting all their creativity and heart into the film and it certainly paid off.
There was some disagreement in the S/W team about whether to feature Try For You on our site, as some of our programmers found the film too slight for our curatorial voice. It was this precise sense of ephemerality that I was drawn to however—rather than a sweeping statement, Presley’s short isolates a particular sensation and nails it beautifully. In the end we all agreed that the short deserved to be commended for its honesty and the deep emotional response it evoked in the audience.
When we asked Presley what the film meant to him, he described it as “a small story about heartbreak, doubt and jealousy. (About) the fear of everything that is not said during and after a relationship. Looking back and asking yourself, maybe I just assumed something was wrong, but I never asked, I never spoke up. I just left” – the director explained.
The way Presley visualizes the plethora of emotions that the encounter between the ex-lovers stirs up is flawlessly observed. From the way Michelle felt like a failure for not pursuing her dream to be a musician (even though she now had a successful career of her own), to the flashbacks which haunted her after their chance meeting and with them all the unresolved questions and doubts about the choices made. Presley conveys these unspoken thoughts with gentle fragility and absolute clarity, and the result is heartbreakingly close to home.
Much like a passionate, all-consuming relationship, Try For You is intoxicating, and messes with your head. And, just like the scars it leaves behind, when that same relationship has come to an end, the film too will stay with you for a long time to come.