After his wife leaves him, Charles begins to assume the identities of strangers at a local coffee shop to avoid being alone.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Charles
...
Negotiating Man
...
Cheated-On Man
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
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Attractive Young Mom (as Melanie Kannokada)
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Surrogate Apologizer
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Picky E-Dater
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Waitress
Kimmie Solomon ...
No Nightshifts
Douglas Walker ...
Litigious Man
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After his wife leaves him, Charles begins to assume the identities of strangers at a local coffee shop to avoid being alone.

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Short | Drama

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2014 (USA)  »

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An amusing and engaging scene (SUGGESTIVE SPOILERS)
27 March 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

When his girlfriend leaves him, our man cannot even bring himself to sleep in their bed, so great is his malaise and feelings of hurt and loss. In an attempt to shake himself out of it, he decides to get in a routine – a Healthy Start to each day which involves getting out of the house and having breakfast at the coffee shop each day at 8am. He eats alone but it is ten times better than just sitting at home. When a stranger mistakes him for someone he is meeting, holds a conversation, then leaves, it starts another pattern – one where the man looks for people who clearly do not know the person they are meeting, then he pretends to be them.

Built on a recognizable starting position, this film then goes for a more unlikely setup whereby a man could play different roles for an extended period of time, without one of his "victims" ever coming back to him. If you accept that we only live in the one meeting (which you have to) then the scene works because it is presented in a rather comedic manner, where the narration and the meetings keep us interested. The final scene adds a bit more dramatic edge to the concept though, but yet still works because we are interested in where it goes. The ending is not the strongest and, to me at least, not the clearest, but I think that the man is not only grateful for the human contact (which is healthy in some ways) but also has become addicted to the aspect of it where he has been able to forget his own feelings by adopting the fake personae of whomever the other person imagines they are meeting. The final scene gives him a bridge between the fictional and the real, so that he is able to process his former feelings while also giving himself that distance from them. I am not entirely sure it works, but it is nicely presented and it doesn't go over the top on explaining everything, even though it could have used the narration to do so (although being too direct if it had).

The delivery is good from the cast, with only the waitress character being miscast – okay she was in it for seconds, but she seems too fictional to belong here, like a cliché of a waitress that was a deliberate choice, rather than just a minor character. Not sure why this stuck with me, but it did – although it is a minor thing. Visually the film is as sharp as it is simple, and I really liked the clear framing and focus of the camera throughout. The score is a bit too twee for my taste, although mostly the content justifies the tone – and I liked that it dropped off for the final scene.

As self-contained as it is, it is amusing at first, and finally engaging in what it is doing. I am not entirely sure it does totally come off as a whole, but it is interesting and does draw the viewer in, going beyond the comedic aspect that it uses to do so.


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