PIFF 2021: Sum Of Us – Review

Release Date – TBC, Cert – N/A, Run-time – 1 hour 40 minutes, Director – Anthony Meindl

A series of short stories linked by the actors talking about their connections to performing.

“Don’t do it unless you really can’t live without it” is the advice of one of the various actors taking part in this quasi-anthology film. Each section is divided up by a new subject being asked about their connection to performing, what they think it offers them, some as acting students, and other people. This quote is a piece of advice is what the figure on screen would give as advice to teenage girls wanting to get into acting, or do anything in life. They divide up a series of multiple short stories that while initially unlinked manage to form a very slight narrative, with loose links from character to character.

As the film develops, an some of the themes and ideas throughout it, points about the relationships between young and old begin to come to the fore of the piece. Such themes increase over the course of the film and allow for a better connection with the piece and the later stories that appear. While initially interesting they only appear as short bursts of insights to various characters’ lives, then developing into something more. Stories covering two or three ten minute patches being to become slightly more involving as they develop with a bigger story, instead of a patch of time in someone’s life. It becomes more engaging and interesting over time, slightly helped by the connections that the actors have with the pieces that they are acting out – emphasising the feeling and ideas of performing being a true escape that the actors are working on.

What further helps this is the fact that in most cases the actors appear to work well together, and give good performances. Helping with the mostly two-hander scenarios, further establishing the drama class style that the piece pushes across. It holds interest and as more themes and ideas come forward and properly establish themselves as links between the segments the film becomes overall more enjoyable and perhaps satisfying, instead of feeling like a lengthy series of unrelated vignettes. Overall there’s a decent enough piece of work here, perhaps more for actors than anyone else; but still there’s enough there of interest to engage the more casual viewers to this project.

Once it establishes itself as more than just a series of loosely linked scenes Sum Of Us is an interesting look into the connection that some people have with acting, especially when looking at the differences between old and young in the later stages of the piece.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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