Alexander Campbell and Mark Solter’s Everyone Writes Memoir is a 37-minute examination of a relationship on its final legs. Beginning with a prologue, the narrative rewinds the story back to the day of the breakup between Mia and Daniel, digitally networked but in the physical world, cracks seem to have widened into chasms. As the two reckon with the remnants, a painful lovelessness emerges.
Mia (Gloria Blake) comes home early and unannounced. The electricity has been off for at least three days; everything in the refrigerator has gone bad. Her obvious discontent shows older roots when Daniel (Anthony Crum) comes home from a run. The day-long simmering altercation reveals a bitterness by the time night falls. Though Daniel is more laid back than Mia, the feeling is shared. Blake and Crum deliver admirably to a camera trained on their faces for long stretches.
Set on an island with an abundance of woods, the characters spend a lot of time running. Mia goes out running almost immediately after she has returned. A lot of the time, the running looks like sweating out peaking disaffection. The editing takes out connecting shots in terms of time, creating a mild sense of disconnection. It is as if the events have expanded into a kind of omnipresence. It takes a second viewing to put pieces into place, like the car that whooshes past at the end of the prologue: Mia’s return.
Mia initiates a game of truth-telling during the candlelit takeout dinner that evening. She begins by recounting how she went through Daniel’s phone early in their relationship, concluding by saying she never truly came to trust him. The absence of comprehensible time and the recurring runs add up to this admission of distrust for the viewer as a mind constantly in motion, constantly alert.
The question of the digital is peppered across the board, popping up especially during dinner. It is not the reason they break up, yet it is the emblem of it. Daniel distractedly types away on his phone when Mia recounts a childhood memory. His faith in AI, a conversation they have earlier in the film, sparks off the first round of quarrels. Technology and the characters’ relationship with it intensify the sense of shaky ground and the consequent need for fervent attention for any cracks.
The score only kicks in once things have fallen apart with finality and evokes shock and heartbreak. Ambient sound more or less falls silent. In the prologue, the ubiquitousness of technology has been firmly and deliberately replaced by the ubiquitousness of Daniel’s memory of the final dinner. Thus, its expansion. Thus, the gentle irrelevance of time. The prologue shows Daniel’s attempt to reverse everything he believes was a factor. Where in the past, he could not see himself at all or with honesty, he writes now—with pencil and paper—with a determination to get the truth down with the utmost accuracy. Whether he does it as a lover or as a writer remains uncertain.
Watch Everyone Writes Memoir Short Film Trailer
Everyone Writes Memoir: Exploring Truth and Certainty Through a Dying Relationship