by Michelle Talbert
Quiet tension—taut and fraught—is how I would describe the short film The End Again, starring on- and off-screen husband and wife, Columbus Short and Tanee McCall-Short. The film has been described by its makers as, “a dramedy… a pensive portrait of a couple’s last day together as they emphatically end their five-year relationship.” Most of us have found ourselves there too. In that moment where words unsaid intersect with too many spoken from which there is no turning back. It’s that moment when you’ve decided to divorce, separate, or split from a partner; a person who you once loved and couldn’t imagine living without. That is what The End Again captures and brings to life. It’s a moment in time for the couple as Tanee’s character Jane visits the home she once shared with husband Joe to retrieve her things as a single question remains: What happened?
Having had the unfortunate experiences of living through two divorces of my own, this film immediately took me back to those days, weeks, months after. After the decision to split is made, when the anger subsides to an ever-present tightness in the belly. One partner vacillates between regret and confusion; and the other partner moves between the resolve to end it and the reliving of sweet memories. In those moments, as in the film, you interact with one another cordially, even doing things for one another, whether out of caring or habit or some distracted combination of the two: making a cup of tea, retrievingng an item from a too high shelf. This film serves as the prequel to what the filmmakers hope to be the feature-length story of a couple no longer love each other—at least not in a way their marriage can survive.
From the film’s soundtrack to its backdrop of dreary skies and pounding rain, The End Again portrays that moment in a breakup, of which we can all relate. The film tugs on the audience’s heart strings. Like its classic and unparalleled predecessor in the genre, Love Jones, it delivers a story that is raw and relatable.
In anticipation of the Washington, DC screening earlier this year, I had the opportunity to sit down with and interview the women behind the film, writer/producer Felicia Pride, director Crystle C. Roberson, and co-producer Latisha Fortune. At the time of the interview, I was unaware that the two co-stars would soon go through a very publicly split, and in fact were already separated during filming.
Watching the film again with this knowledge in preparation to write this review made me feel even more deeply for the on- and off-screen couple. The End Again, although merely 15 minutes, takes its viewers through a quiet yet tumultuous journey that makes its audience feel optimistically expectant yet knowing realistically that reconciliation will never come.
The End Again is a teaser, a 15-minute trailer, for the feature length film, OpenEnded, which the producers are actively raising funds through IndieGoGo to bring to the big screen. During the spring 2014 DC screening, I spoke with attendees, one of whom was crying and visibly reliving a moment from her past. After the credits, the viewer tearfully recounted to me her last interaction with an ex-boyfriend and shared the film’s scenes, “sat very real on my heart; in that [last] moment between my ex and I, the film took me back to that.”
It will be very interesting to see how these characters evolve in the feature film OpenEnded. The End Again presents a “day in the life” story of the characters, but also, in an art imitating life fashion, the actors portraying them. Whether the film’s takeaway is that we should say the unspeakable or just walk away will remain a personal decision for its viewers, but no matter your thinking this film will do just that: make you think…and remember.
Michelle Y. Talbert is a recovering corporate attorney turned relationship strategist and social media content producer. She’s NYC born and bred, but you can find her living and loving in Washington, DC. She produces and co-hosts the popular podcast, “They Met Online…” with her ex, who she met online (it’s not complicated at all!) Connect with Michelle on Twitter @BlackLoveRules and on LinkedIn.
Kimberly Foster is the founder and editor of For Harriet. Email or Follow @KimberlyNFoster