In spite of it all, it is a touching and professionally made short
I came to this film without knowing anything about it in terms of plot or theme or genre; it is how I like to approach short films so that I am free to like it, hate it or misunderstand it all on my own. Watching based on the recommendation of good websites helps be sure the quality it reasonably consistent, but otherwise I like the cold viewing. With Lichen I decided within about 2 minutes that I was going to hate it. It had an indie spirited romance feel about it, all sappy and unconvincing – particularly when the boy and girl both catch eyes and share a moment in a coffee shop.
This feeling continued as I realized what the film was doing in terms of building this romance off different objects that come from a moment in their relationship. However as the film went on, this feeling faded and, although part of me still really wanted to dislike it for its safe and sentimental core and indie/sentiment delivery, I was actually drawn into it and was nicely touched by it by the end. The key is that, although the film is a bit sappy, it is nicely delivered and it makes the objects the focal point (particularly at the end). We all have junk in our house that is not junk but only because it means something to us – usually it is a stone from a beach or something like that, but it depends. This film makes good use of that common thing to draw the viewer in and I was quite warmed by it – even if it was a bit overkill on the sentiment.
It is also a film that looked good and sounded good. The soundtrack is perhaps a bit obvious but it works and this is the main thing I suppose. Technically the middle section features a clever split screen which merges really nicely into one, which is a nice little throwaway thing. Generally the film is professional and touching – but it is so almost in spite of itself, since of much of it is really more sentimental than it needed to be and it is actually a credit to the idea and the wider delivery, that it manages to carry it off.
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