Jessica has just turned 42 and is grappling with overwhelming emotions and despondency, not to mention her deteriorating marriage.
Her husband Michael throws her a surprise birthday party as a way to smooth things over, but it only adds to Jessica’s confusion, leading to an internal reckoning with her own feelings about the marriage — and the past memories that she can’t quite let go of.
Writer-director Anita Lee’s beautifully observed drama is an internal odyssey into how one woman navigates her transition into midlife, with all its challenges, sadnesses, regrets and triumphs. The film rests on the foundation of its strong performances, and both lead actors capture the push and pull of the relationship between them, as well as the internal churning they create in one another.
The editing is also especially effective, transitioning between present and past with a sense of poetry and care. With the help of delicately beautiful images and camera movements, the short traces the internal odyssey that humans face as they begin the downward slope of life.
In the end, “Here is Now” is also deeply romantic, because the couple in question grapple with their fears and doubts — and then must decide whether to choose one another again, despite it all. The result is a quiet, subtle and lovely film grounded in the fact that the biggest journeys in our life are often the inner ones, especially in how clarity sneaks up on us, transforming not just how we see our world, but how we feel about ourselves.