Lindsey and Josh are a young, seemingly upwardly mobile couple living together and sharing a life.
But one day Lindsey comes home with a new shorter haircut. When it fails to elicit the right amount of support and reassurance from Josh, an argument develops between them, unearthing repressed resentments and deeper conflicts they’ve buried in the day-to-day of their life together.
Writer-director David Brundige’s short falls under the “dramedy” category, with its portrayal on the foibles of human beings and the messes they make for themselves with their careless words.
Its dialogue is sharp, smart and often very witty, alive to the ways modern couples of a certain stripe are at least aware of the idea of effective communication, with its emphasis on “I” statements and the like.
But underneath this veneer of cleverness and intelligence, the storytelling also unearths the raw, murky emotions that people deal with: fear, rejection, anger, insecurity and more. It also grapples with the obstacles that bedevil many long-term domestic partnerships: how individual personal growth can often stagnate in order to keep a relationship afloat, and how we sand away our honesty and openness to avoid hurting another’s feelings, but often at the expense of a relationship’s vitality.
These narrative aims are brought to life with two great performances by lead actors Sophie Traub and Sharif Corinaldi, who capture the shifting sands of the subterranean emotions underneath their words with great precision and honesty. Their performances are tracked with equally precise, almost documentary-style camerawork, which makes the emotions both intimate and sometimes even claustrophobic.
Essentially a turning point scene between two people, the compressed narrative scale and hothouse atmosphere of “Haircut” contains an epic’s worth of emotions in one important conversation. There’s a twist in the ending that may make viewers reevaluate and re-judge what they’ve watched, but what remains true is the sense that all relationships face tests everyday, whether we’re aware of them or not. But it takes honesty with ourselves and with others to face these small cracks with genuine openness and vulnerability — or else pay a bigger price down the road when it comes to love and connection.