Directed by: Louisa Fielden
Cast: Aiysha Hart, Joseph Timms
Have you ever scrolled through Facebook when the algorithm recommends someone from your past? Sometimes you feel happy, sometimes upset or even angry. We’ve all been there, and Louisa Fielden’s latest short film, People You May Know, centres around this very topic. After seeing ex-boyfriend James pop up as a suggested friend, Emily decides to add him and invites him to a coffee shop for a catch up eleven years after their break up. Set predominately in the cafe, we watch as the two of them discuss their past, and dark secrets are uncovered.
This is an incredibly emotionally charged film that deals with some upsetting topics. I personally found it very hard to watch but that’s a testament to how good the script and acting is. Despite the fact there’s only two actors, both Hart and Timms give excellent performances that hold your full attention for the entire duration. Over the course of the narrative we learn more and more about these two characters, in a similar fashion to reading all about somebody on social media, and we begin to feel like we’re part of these character’s lives.
I really loved the intrusive nature of the camera and it was one of my favourite things about People You May Know. It felt like I was watching real people, talking about a very real and raw former relationship, and I was someone listening in when I wasn’t supposed to be. The film places you in that cafe, locks the door, and forces you to listen to every word even when you don’t want to. I was truly captivated by this short film and can’t praise the screenwriting enough for that. I thought the pacing was just right, and the dialogue packs an almighty punch when needed.
With this in mind, I appreciated the way these difficult topics were handled; in a way that emphasises their serious nature but doesn’t become too graphic. The incident that Emily recounts to James and to us, the viewer, has scarred her for life and is both physically and emotionally damaging. The way she spoke about it brought me to tears, as I expect was the intention. She is a hugely complex character with complex emotions that are often disregarded. Although she is only on screen for a few minutes compared to hours, we learn so much about her and her past.
People You May Know is harrowing but I would definitely recommend it if you feel you’re able to watch. With a runtime of 16 minutes, it’s a quick watch but something that will stay with you for a very long time once the credits roll. It’s a stunningly made, realistic and heartbreaking short about love, loss, trauma and confrontation. I’ve never seen anything quite like it before.