Her Friend Adam is a testament to the character-based premise.
Robert (played by the film’s writer-director Ben Petrie) feels insecure about his girlfriend Liv’s (Grace Glowicki) best friend, Adam (Andrew Chown). His insecurities are so disabling and affective that not even the fact that Adam is gay prevents him from suspecting he and Liv hook up behind his back.
In excruciating real time, Liv and Robert go from playful discussion of a lewd painting to the brink of breakup, all while knowing that “her friend Adam” is on his way over, a clever device that creates suspense where it otherwise would be absent.
Petrie plays Robert like he’s one bit Alvy Singer and one bit Chris Gethard — the latter in part because Petrie looks like Gethard. Glowicki goes balls to the wall with Liv. She’s been burned by Robert’s jealousy for too long and this one more accusation grants her the opportunity to mercilessly grind him down to nothing.
And we’re forced to watch.
The cinematography is not just simple in the best serviceable way, it’s real. Camera position and shot composition feel natural; not like fly-on-the-wall but like the viewer’s an existing third party in the couple’s apartment.
Her Friend Adam may begin as a comedy, but there is no doubt it ends as a tragedy — for their relationship, anyway. It’s clear these issues have had time to grow and twist below the surface, so when they finally emerge, they’re strong enough to widen the existing cracks between the two of them. In a way it looks liberating — for a moment.
Toronto-based Ben Petrie has carved himself out a permanent spot on my short attention span radar.
Read Danny’s take on the short film here