Written By: Ryan Hendrick, Clare Sheppard
Directed By: Ryan Hendrick
Genre: Romantic Comedy
With Christmas right around the corner I was wondering when the holiday titles would begin rolling in. "Perfect Strangers" is one such title. Sort of. Although the film takes place on Christmas, it could easily have skirted the holiday fare and simply been a romantic comedy. The chosen season however, does add that little extra zing to a pretty damn good title. I'm not generally "that guy" who watches films of this genre, but in this case I had no problem sitting through the movie... and enjoying myself as I did. This simple fact alone tells me that "Perfect Strangers" easily earns it's grade; if you happen to actually enjoy the genre... you'll like it even more.
The set-up is all here, written in a very simplistic and to the point kind of way. It is also very real, which is a surprise considering the comedic elements. As a viewer you'll follow along and laugh, as our two leads bumble their way towards Glasgow in the falling snow.
The technical aspects of "Perfect Strangers" may not always be perfect, but they are effective. The majority of the film features a washed out, not so happy look to it. A complete opposite feeling the season is supposed to evoke. This completely emulates the mind-set of our characters however, and does a fantastic job doing so. As the movie progresses, certain scenes warm up the tones and as they do, we warm up as with them. A nice ebb-and-flow. The camera work, although not mind-blowing was handled well enough to really build up the narrative; save a soft shot here and there. The funny thing is that the few "not-so-perfect" shots seemed to take place during the inside sequences. You would figure the more complex outdoor shots would be the ones to suffer some slight technical flaws. Not the case though. It's the interiors that were less than perfect. With that written however, let me just say the few flawed shots may have been on purpose. They added a real strength to the scene. Life isn't always picture perfect so why should a film be? Overall, visually I think "Perfect Strangers" managed to hit the mark. Maybe not shatter it... but easily come up to it.
The real shimmer of this short film was the acting itself, coming through as real and by no means hollow. I'm sure this was helped by the smart dialog written for the characters, not showing as scripted at all. Throw in a damn good audio track and a fitting score and you've got yourself a win-win situation every time. My only real complaint with "Perfect Strangers" was the ending sequence. Sure, the narrative flows as "true to life", but the ending seemed a little like an anti climax. I would love to be shown what ended up happening with our two leads. Did they simply walk away never to see each other again? Did they maybe exchange numbers at some point we, the viewer were not shown? I just felt that with the build up of chemistry between them, some form of correspondence after the credits rolled would have been great if hinted at. Sure, maybe a hint did exist with the final line... but that's simply not enough for a film of this nature.
In the end, "Perfect Strangers" delivers. Even if you're not a fan of the genre. It's simple yet funny narrative easily entertains as you follow along. Even out in the snow, this one will warm you up a bit.
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