Paul is the best man in a wedding, watching the post-ceremony proceedings with an air of detachment and melancholy. While he’s surrounded by an atmosphere of love and happiness, he’s clearly not quite feeling it himself.
But as he tries to avoid the crowd, he meets Jessie, and the conversation between two strangers eventually turns into a spark.
Writer-director Joe Gillette’s short romantic dramedy is a sweet, witty slice of life that focuses on how people really truly connect to one another. In a genre where the “meet cute” is often a little too clever, facile and clouded in fantasy, this short is well-scripted, with an eye to explore genuine emotional resonance, especially among ordinary people who struggle with simple everyday awkwardness.
With such honest, compelling dialogue, the performances stand out, achieving a verisimilitude emphasized by the film’s minimalist visual approach. Essentially a long conversation taking place between two people, the camera keeps the attention tightly on the two actors, giving the audience the privilege of watching two people come out of their shells and spark a connection between two people.
“Reception” is simple and elegant in execution, but the ideas and feelings underlying this small-scale gem are messy, complicated, vulnerable and compelling. Open-hearted and sincere, it just may inspire viewers to look at life through the lens of opportunity — and expand horizons in their own everyday way.