Mark Solter, Alexander Campbell
I love the sense of mystery, moodiness, and tension that is immediately established in "Everyone Writes Memoir." It's classified as a Drama, but you get this sinking feeling in your stomach as the film begins - and a sense that something here is not quite right - we just don't know what yet. Through the use of wide-open scenery shots that feel more isolated than they reflect how expansive the landscape is, and the clever use of camera work to show us the setting through mirrors and slow-panning circles, we end up with this feeling of dread as a New Zealand couple try to navigate the digital realm & write their story. We see many relationship issues at the very start, from arguments that include a lot of yelling to responsibilities not being taken seriously - to a level of respect that doesn't seem to exist as it should when living with someone, whether or not the power is out. Daniel and Mia are broken individuals and perhaps even worse off together as a couple, or so it would seem in "Everyone Writes Memoir."
They've been keeping secrets from each other, and ultimately, that's never a good thing when it comes to the art of a relationship. As they sit down for a candlelight dinner, Daniel and Mia feel like the best way to get through their issues is to have a good old honesty session, but as you can imagine, that's not always the easiest thing to do if you haven't been as honest as you should have been from day one. I really enjoyed the patience displayed by co-directors Mark Solter & Alexander Campbell – "Everyone Writes Memoir" is a short film, but they're in no rush whatsoever to cut the tension we experience. So many moments hang in the air like wisps of smoke, with awkward silences and pieces of information that are doled out slowly. It doesn't take long for us to wonder if these two have any chance at a future ahead and the sadness to take over in scenes that show us a love perilously lost but still deeply desired. "We think our realities are the same…and that confusion is cruel." We begin to understand that this film is about the other kind of apex that can occur in a relationship - not peak happiness, but peak misery. It's about that moment where you think you want something or someone so bad that you're willing to bang and bang and bang the square peg through the round hole, but no matter how hard you try, it still ain't gonna fit. It's about the frustration of loving parts of someone but not feeling like they complete you, and it's revealed to us in quite a compelling way through this script written by Alexander Campbell.
I thought the acting was superb throughout the entire length of this film – Gloria Blake as Mia gives you a multi-faceted performance that displays a wide range of emotions, and Anthony Crum plays Daniel with a more unaware stoicism that makes for a perfect contrast and complement to how he breaks in the finale. Long before we get to that point, though, you'll get plenty of clues as to where this story is going, which, again, credit to Campbell, is largely due to the smart scriptwriting & use of foreshadowing. Like for instance, pay close attention to the scene with Daniel attempting to write his story towards the beginning of the film – they say art imitates life, and that could easily prove to be true based on what you see. What if it's the other way around, though? However…what if we manifest our future through the thoughts we have today? That could be equally true in the case of this scene in "Everyone Writes Memoir." The arguments we see onscreen between Mia and Daniel are a testament to the commitment applied by both Crum & Blake to their characters - these scenes are tremendously fierce and practically frightening. You pretty much want to go and hug your loved one after watching these two scrap it out in "Everyone Writes Memoir," if not solely for fear of reaching the same fate as they do one day in your own life - and doing your best to avoid it however you can. Sometimes things fall apart no matter what we do, and by the time we catch up with the two sole characters in this film, that process has clearly been long underway. Are they past the point of no return? It certainly seems to be the case. Blake and Crum perfectly detail the searing pain of love being lost on each of their faces in real-time.
While "Everyone Writes Memoir" does incorporate a heavy mistrust of technology into the story and somewhat bases the plot around that, it's probably not going to be what makes or breaks this film for the people out there watching, and not even the power coming back on seems like it could be enough to save these two from their relationship imploding. Again, stunning use of imagery and the space around them, you'll see symbolism like the lights coming on, a record ending, candles being blown out…Solter and Campbell have done an excellent job with this short film from start to finish. Still, even the brilliance of their craft is genuinely bolstered by the powerful performances put in by Gloria and Anthony. Overall I feel like this was an extremely strong film built on clever direction, smart writing, highly relatable characters, and the fearlessness it takes to tell a story that most wouldn't. "Everyone Writes Memoir" gets a strong four stars out of five from me; I've already watched it twice, and I'd easily watch it again.