Seen 22nd November

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The final film that was shown at Lift Off was also the only feature-length film in the schedule that was completely Australian and was possibly the funniest film of the entire festival just by virtue of the talent leading it.

Zelos tells the story of Bernard (Played by Ben Mortley) and Sarah (Played by Shannon Ashlyn), a sweet young couple who are just about to move in together after Sarah comes back from a trip overseas. Things take a turn when Sarah reveals that while she was overseas that she had an affair. This throws their relationship for a loop but it’s OK, Sarah has a way to fix this. In order for things to be even for them, there’s only one solution… Bernard has to have an affair of his own.

One of the big ideas of this movie is the idea of jealousy without the danger. There is no danger here of Sarah going off with the guy she cheated with because he’s in another country, never seen or even really described. What provides a lot of the conflict is just the idea of the infidelity and how it weights on Bernard’s mind throughout the movie. There’s a series of ways he tries to handle this information, he tries to go along with Sarah’s plan to have an affair of his own, he tries to put his pain into a script, he just tries childish vengeance at one point by making a weird cactus smoothie. Seeing this slow destruction of a relationship is wonderfully done without an excess scene in sight.

Every actor is just amazing, simple as that. Shannon Ashlyn as Sarah has such charm that you get why Bernard wouldn’t kick her out right away after she reveals what she did, she actually makes you want him to forgive her for the indiscretion. Ben Mortley as Bernard is genuinely amazing, I want to see more of him in bigger projects because he’s able to go between hilarious and serious on a dime and is incredibly engaging. There’s also Ainslie McFlynn who plays Rebecca, a genuinely hilarious character who may be the one Bernard cheats with, but also is not afraid to call him out on his bullshit and I love it.

This film is hilarious and touching, it’s like the opposite of a romantic comedy. We’re watching a relationship dissolve at the same rate that a rom-com would put one together, it get’s more and more over the top and every character get’s a real moment to shine. It’s expertly put together and hopefully will get the recognition it deserves. This film would be a triumph no matter who made it but considering this is the first feature film by the director and writer, that makes it even more of a miracle and one that you need to find a way to see.

10/10

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