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August 11, 2015

Something, Anything

by Franz Patrick

Something, Anything (2014)
★★★ / ★★★★

Peggy (Ashley Shelton) and Mark (Bryce Johnson), recently married, seemed set to having a lifetime of contentment together until Peggy miscarried. Although it is no one’s fault, Peggy remains angry with her husband because the night she lost their baby, Mark insisted that she came along to a bar for a work meeting even though she had not been feeling well. A few months pass and although they remain married, Peggy has moved out and is beginning to consider leaving her job as a realtor.

“Something, Anything” is a thoughtful, engaging drama that is equally about expressed emotions, words, and glances as well as its unexpressed counterparts. It demands the viewer to pay attention to the circumstances surrounding the woman who is in dire need of change and consideration about what she might get out of the experience regardless of it working out. At its core, it is a humanistic film. It is one of those rare movies that asks us to evaluate whether we really are content with where we are in life currently.

There is no good guy or bad guy or an expected conflict where the girl must choose the man she wants to be with in the end. There are two men in the movie—one is Mark and the other is Tim (Linds Edwards), the brother of Peggy’s friend from high school who sends her a letter of condolence after her miscarriage. Word has it that Tim has joined a monastery. The two men’s priorities in life are vastly different but both are good-natured. Peggy considers each man as a reflection of where her own life might be heading.

There are segments in the picture where no words are used. We are asked to be observant of the kind of activities Peggy chooses to partake in, what books she chooses to check out from the library, the objects she puts away, how she puts them away, her posture as she engages in solitary activity. Here, grief is almost always expressed in silence. There is no wise counseling session. There are no supportive friends. In fact, her friends are shallow, their so-called advice more telling of who they really are underneath rather than one that is supposed to help out a friend who needs genuine love and support.

The material touches upon the idea of many of us blindly following along what the society expects of us to do once we reach a certain age. For example, pay close attention to the scenes where money is directly or indirectly talked about. In a way, it is brave because the film is willing to hold up a mirror, to ask us to take a good look, and to evaluate. Are you the kind of person who live for the money or are you the kind of person who regards money as only money and uses it to really live? The picture makes a noble case that in modern society, too many of us fall within the former group—which is most unhealthy.

Divided into four seasons, the story, although straightforward, is bigger than a span of ninety minutes. Some movies last for about twice that running time yet still struggle to communicate a quarter of what is tackled here. This makes “Something, Anything,” written and directed by Paul Harrill, quite an accomplishment. It is a small film surely but its ideas reach deep into the souls of those willing to look within.


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