Indie Flicks: Alison - The In Between Moments
Finding your “person” is something that almost every human being longs for. Especially trying to date and navigate love in a time of social media and dating apps, most 20-somethings desire that intimate connection with someone. A confidante, a partner and crime, a ride or die, another person who you can trust and rely on and love. Well, what happens when you have that but then you don’t. You find that person who you think could be the one but then you start to think maybe they aren’t actually. Alison, follows Jay and Ali, a long-term couple, through one particularly annoying night.
The film opens with Ali asking Jay if he dares her and Jay looking annoyed. "I don't have to dare you, you're gonna do it anyway." Jay's first full sentence is spoken. You can tell just from the tone of his voice and the look on his face that these childish antics are normal for Ali. A drunk Ali laughs as she pulls down her underwear and pees on the sidewalk and Jay stands next to her very annoyed. This small exchange at the beginning of the film helps us to catch a glimpse of what their relationship is actually like.
Ali is the one acting immature and throughout the entire scene, yet it seems as if she makes everything seem like Jay's fault. She tells him that he is embarrassing when a person walks past her peeing and you can see him go to say something more (perhaps ask how he is the embarrassing one) but before he can get it out, Ali asks him for something else. From this start of the film, it is easy for the viewer to feel as if maybe Ali takes more than she gives to the relationship and perhaps Jay is starting to get fed up with it.
Jay continues to spend the duration of his night tending to a drunk Ali. He carries her upstairs after she passes out, sits with her while she vomits, helps her to change and the list goes on. At one point, Ali and Jay are shown in the bath together. Ali starts to cry and say that she's a fuck up. Jay holds and comforts her, telling Ali that she is not and that he loves her. It makes you wonder what has been going on in the relationship. Has Ali done something specific to be thinking that way of herself?
A bit later Ali states "this was such a weird night." What about it was weird? Did she do something to upset Jay but despite that, he is helping her anyway? Unfortunately, you never know for sure, but this intimate moment between the two makes you wonder.
A specific moment in the film that really represented the take more than you give theme was when Ali and Jay were in bed. Ali apologizes for her drunken antics and Jay asks if she is feeling okay. She asks Jay if he is tired and it is obvious she is trying to initiate sex. Jay expresses that he is tired, it is 4 AM and they had a long night. She pushes it further and winds up going down on him. It is obvious that Jay is enjoying it but then Ali falls asleep in the middle. The perfect way to end a very annoying night. The reason this scene represents the give/take theme so much because Jay did not even want it. He told Ali he was tired and then when she did what she wanted anyway and he began to enjoy himself, she stopped. From the looks of it, perhaps this scene can be used as a metaphor for their entire relationship.
The next morning comes and Ali is seen in the kitchen making breakfast. Jay comes out and she has coffee waiting for him and makes his plate. As they sit there eating together, Jay begins to cry. Ali gets up and comforts him, never asking what is wrong, just holding him and telling him everything will be okay. It is a truly heartbreaking scene, really. The scene was powerful in the fact that it made me question why he was crying. Was he crying because the next morning, even though Ali wan now sober and being caring, his feelings were still the same as the night before? Was he heartbroken that he had fallen out of love with Ali?
The more optimistic part of me wants to think that Jay began to cry because he realized the next morning how much he loves Ali and was feeling guilty for his thoughts the night before. Perhaps he began to weep because he realized that Ali was good for him and he did love her, and perhaps the night before was just one bad night. I read in an interview with David Lester on Directors Notes that the inspiration for this film was his and his girlfriends "in between moments." The moments in a relationship that aren't so grand and notable that they are needed to be made into films and books.
Perhaps after viewing the film, you will agree with the director's interpretation and see it as one of the in-between moments in Ali and Jay's relationship. Maybe you will view it and see the relationship as doomed. Either way, the film is definitely worth the watch. It is thought-provoking and emotional and the performances by Jessica Rose and Kristopher Turner are superb. Written by Jessica Rose and directed by David Lester, Alison will become a favorite of both rom-com and drama lovers alike.