A marriage, broken by death, is kept alive by the memories held through grape soda.

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Bobby
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Sherry
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Rodrigo
Jay C. Russell ...
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Troy
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A marriage, broken by death, is kept alive by the memories held through grape soda.

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Short | Drama

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15 August 2014 (USA)  »

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$2,200 (estimated)
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2.35 : 1
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Personal and affecting film that gets the small things right and mostly avoids "moments"
14 February 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Whether it be feature or short film, it is not always easy to deliver an emotional story in a way that rings true – at times the attempts to get them across can produce something far too ripe in melodrama and "actorly" moments, but then on the other hand if one tries to totally fold it all up then it comes across as overly restrained and feels like it is being deliberately indie or difficult. Not to say that it is difficult to do well, but it is something that can go wrong easily. I mention this because I think the strength of Grape Soda is that it does it mostly really well indeed.

The plot sees a man returning home to find what appears to be an emotional last straw, which impacts into the rest of his life. The film opens with this in a way that gives you an understanding of how the rest of the film will work – there is no flamboyant rage or awards-worthy outpouring of emotion; instead Bobby is just deflated – not accepting in the least, just looking defeated and hurt beyond histrionics. This continues through the film because there is not really one big thing that does it, but more the constant pain that comes out in small things, and occasionally manifests itself in small things becoming impossibly frustrating simply because the emotion is nothing to do with them. This is delivered so well that we really feel like we are with the character in how he is – it isn't a performance, it is a person going through this.

In Ashworth the film has the perfect lead performance. I'll admit that his accent threw me a bit at first but otherwise his performance was great – from his small bits of emotion in his words, through to his entire body language, all of it speaks of one unprocessable hurt after another, and it does so even before we understand the whole picture. The film understandably has more of a structured "moment" at the end, but even this is restrained, natural and convincing. The patience of the piece, and the stillness and realism of the delivery really makes it work, and it is surprisingly personal and affecting thanks to the careful and measured delivery across the board – although it is Ashworth that really sticks in the mind.


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