How do you feel when you’re being gaslit? Vivian Kerr’s short film, Julian, walks us through the range of emotions of a woman being lied to about her sister’s boyfriend.
Brynn (Vivian Kerr) is doing the best she can to prepare for the arrival of her estranged sister, Marlow (Stephanie Drake). She has not been around because Marlow is a compulsive liar, and Brynn needs her boundaries. Husband Max (Joel Kelley Dauten) is there for moral support, and, fingers crossed, maybe the two can patch things up. But then, with the ring of the doorbell, Marlow arrives with her new boyfriend, Julian (played by a real-life canteloupe).
Of course, Brynn is confused. As Marlow goes on about how she and Julian met, what a great lover he is, and…poof…they’re engaged, Brynn sees a cantaloupe and desperately wants to point out the obvious. But on the other hand, Max is the peacemaker and plays along with Marlow’s story.
“…Marlow arrives with her new boyfriend, Julian (played by a real-life canteloupe).”
Stephanie Drake is almost too perfect as Marlow. I imagine the most fun roles come from playing the heels in life. With a mere accent of self-absorbed narcissism, Drake is absolutely committed to Marlow’s story. As Brynn, Kerr plays the emotional center of the piece, and we, as the audience, can easily slip into her shoes as Marlow’s craziness unfolds.
Speaking of crazy, filmmaker Kerr brilliantly walks that delicate line between being civil and exploding with reality’s rage. Yes, an engagement to a cantaloupe is silly…some might say wacky, but by going to the extreme, Kerr pulls out the thoughts and feelings we feel when in the presence of a blatant liar, who happens to be someone close. It’s frustrating while testing our levels of tolerance at the same time. What would you do?