Film Review | One Night in Aberdeen (2014)

One Night in Aberdeen, a 2014 short film by Brett Ferster, is a story about a most basic human necessity: companionship. At a roadside Super 8 motel, Will, a business traveller, strikes up a conversation with Caroline, a local who frequents the bar inside the motel. As the night winds down into the small hours, the two strangers become close and reveal aspects of themselves that they are usually reluctant to talk about.

Set inside a near-vacant Super 8 that is, as described by Will, “an uncomplicated experience”, the film is likewise a linear approach that flows with the ease and elegance of a real-world encounter; the salubrity of the film resting on its strength of performance, and the sincerity of the writing. The film explores the magnetism of personality which draws unlikely individuals together, and there is an artful moment towards the end which consummates the tension that pervades throughout the piece, that is both wryly comedic and unapologetically sexual.

Will and Caroline, the latter of who is later revealed to be Angie, both harbour secrets that are not so much revelations as they are a concrete reinforcement of one’s assumptions. They are characters that are more of themselves than they care to acknowledge, and a verbal admission all but confirms this assertion. Touching on a topic of stagnation, in life and in career, writers Mark Hopkins and Charles Netto reflect on the attritional qualities of routine living, that makes fortuities as refreshing as they are.

The profundity of this restoration is well articulated in the film’s conclusions, not only in the literal change of the Super 8 motel logo that is the conceit of the narrative, but in the visible elation of both characters. The sun shines, the day is new, and there are small artifacts of an evening spent in heartfelt exchange. Concisely summed in speechless delight, “One Night in Aberdeen” is a quiet triumph of the perennial power of change.

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