Anna and Tom are meeting with a priest at his church in preparation for their upcoming wedding. Tom’s parents have always wanted their children to have a Catholic wedding and Tom is doing his best to impress the priest and procure the church as a location.
The priest questions the couple about their religious faith. Tom goes along, but Anna has a harder time pretending to feel a connection to faith that she doesn’t possess. As the conversation progresses, it becomes clear that Anna is at odds with its religious ideology — and perhaps at odds with her future husband.
Directed by Brett Cramer from a script co-written with actor Meg Cashel, this dramedy is sharply witty and deeply serious in its portrayal of a couple navigating the line between keeping the peace and keeping one’s integrity. The film has a perceptive thoughtfulness on all levels, balancing both the humor of an awkward situation with the doubts and uncertainties it ultimately reveals.
The short is essentially a long scene that leans on dialogue to move its story forward, and the visuals keep the focus on the couple’s unspoken thoughts and emotions. The moody, burnished cinematography plays against the sometimes antic pace of the dialogue, and though there is little camera movement, the editing and shot composition make sure the audience never misses a micro-reaction or fleeting thought from the couple. Visually, the film is a master class in how the simplest elements of cinematic art can yield terrific storytelling when leveraged with great thought, clarity and intention.
But the strength of the film is its precise writing and excellent performances. There’s great humor in how Anna and Tom dance around the truth in their desire to win over the priest, as well as how the archaic beliefs of some religions don’t reflect modern relationships. Actor Meg Cashel nails the perfect balance between comic neuroticism and sharply critical thought, asking provocative questions not just about religious dogma, but about how to balance individual truth with the larger partnership. As the situation escalates, Anna can’t help but explode in a torrent of thought — one that reveals the deeper, thornier truths between the couple.
Both warmly empathetic and accessibly cerebral, “Together” is quietly thought-provoking, using its humor to examine not just the role of religious faith in modern life, but also how silencing our voices to make a partner happy can open up great fissures of division. Just like how the film’s seemingly modest scale belies its precise craftsmanship, a simple pared-down scene becomes a tour-de-force of great insight and deep melancholy, when deep truths come out and fates of people shift in a new direction, forming the emotional earthquakes that make up the plot twists of ordinary life.