• Country: Canada
  • Initial release: January 22, 2016 (United States)
  • Film Director: Ben Petrie
  • Running Time: 17 Minutes
  • IMDB Grade: 6.6

In the world of independent filmmaking, few names have garnered as much attention as Ben Petrie. Known for his unique storytelling and ability to create captivating characters, Petrie’s short film Her Friend Adam is no exception. Premiering at Sundance and later showcased at SXSW, this comedy-drama hybrid takes audiences on a rollercoaster ride of emotions, exploring the complexities of jealousy and the need for independence within relationships.

2016 Her Friend Adam Poster

The Plot Unveiled

Her Friend Adam revolves around the tumultuous relationship between Liv, a talented painter played by Grace Glowicki, and her boyfriend Robert, portrayed by Petrie himself. The story kicks off when Robert, driven by insecurity, checks Liv’s phone for evidence of wrongdoing. What follows is a series of explosive confrontations that push their relationship to the brink.

The Power of Performance

One of the film’s standout features is the incredible performances delivered by Petrie and Glowicki. As real-life partners, their chemistry shines through on-screen, creating a compelling dynamic between their characters. Glowicki’s portrayal of Liv is particularly noteworthy, earning her a special jury prize for outstanding performance at Sundance. Her ability to balance vulnerability and strength brings Liv to life, defying traditional cinematic stereotypes.

A Fly-on-the-Wall Experience

Petrie’s masterful direction and intimate camerawork draw audiences into the heart of the story. Filmed in a small apartment over the course of three consecutive nights, the claustrophobic setting serves as the perfect backdrop for the relationship’s unraveling. As Liv and Robert spar verbally, the audience becomes a proverbial wallflower, witnessing the emotional rollercoaster up close.

Subverting Stereotypes

Her Friend Adam challenges conventional portrayals of relationships and gender dynamics. Liv, the central character, defies the manic pixie dream girl trope, valuing her independence and challenging societal expectations. This refreshing take on a female character serves as a welcome antidote to tired clichés. Conversely, Robert’s character, though not the typical alpha male, grapples with his own insecurities and trust issues. The film’s portrayal of these complex characters subverts traditional indie film tropes, offering a fresh perspective on relationships.

Uncomfortably Real

The dialogue and acting in Her Friend Adam are undeniably authentic, capturing the raw emotions that surface during intense arguments. Petrie’s portrayal of Robert, a seemingly nice guy masking his insecurities, is both relatable and honest. While the characters’ behavior may be exaggerated at times, it resonates with anyone who has experienced the turmoil of a heated disagreement. The film’s ability to evoke genuine emotions is a testament to the impressive writing and performances.

A Battle of Words

Throughout Her Friend Adam, Liv and Robert navigate the apartment like boxers in a ring, using words as their weapons. The tension builds as they exchange vicious jabs, creating a sense of unease for the audience. This escalation of conflict keeps viewers on the edge of their seats, unsure of what twist or turn the argument will take next.

The Arrival of Adam

In a climactic moment, the film introduces Adam, Liv’s friend played by Andrew Chown, to alleviate some of the tension. His presence adds an unexpected element to the already volatile situation, further complicating the dynamics between the characters. As the fight reaches its peak, Petrie’s performance becomes increasingly comical, culminating in a spectacular display of vulnerability and tears.

The Role of Setting

The choice to confine the story to a small apartment amplifies the intensity of the emotions on display. The cramped conditions mirror the claustrophobia of the failing relationship, effectively trapping Liv and Robert in their own emotional battleground. Petrie’s direction immerses the audience in the room, making them feel like active participants in the unfolding drama.

Balancing Comedy and Drama

While Her Friend Adam is often categorized as a comedy, it delves into dramatic territory, leaving viewers with a sense of emotional weight. The film’s ability to seamlessly navigate between humor and seriousness creates a unique viewing experience. Petrie’s decision to shift the visual style of the film to match the intensity of the scenes demonstrates his commitment to capturing the emotional depth of the story.

The Art of Jealousy

At the core of Her Friend Adam lies the exploration of jealousy and its impact on relationships. Liv’s friendship with Adam becomes a catalyst for Robert’s insecurities, leading to a destructive cycle of mistrust. The film sheds light on the irrationality and pain that jealousy can breed, offering a cautionary tale about the destructive power of unchecked emotions.

A Glimpse of Honesty

While the film may not elicit laughter from every viewer, its honesty is undeniable. Her Friend Adam delves into the harsh reality that love is not always reciprocated in the same way. The final scene, in which Robert walks away with tears in his eyes, encapsulates the bittersweet truth that sometimes, despite our best efforts, love is unrequited. This poignant message resonates long after the credits roll.

1 Film Review

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  • Her Friend Adam is a remarkable short film that tackles the complexities of relationships with humor, honesty, and raw emotion. Petrie’s direction, combined with the exceptional performances of Glowicki and himself, create a captivating viewing experience. Whether laughing, cringing, or reflecting on the film’s deeper themes, audiences are sure to be moved by the power of Her Friend Adam.