1/1 Review

An Arty Take On Loss And Life


Lissa, Lindsey Shaw (Eleventh Hour, Love Me) is haunted by the suicide of her father, Judd Nelson (The Breakfast Club, New Jack City), an event she never understood and that created a rift between her and her now estranged mother, Dendrie Taylor (The Fighter, Saving Mr. Banks).

After her twentieth birthday and a night with an old friend of hers, she realizes she might be pregnant, causing her to question her life and what happened to her father.

1/1 is at its core a very personal drama about the pain of past trauma and unanswered questions. For one hour and twenty minutes, we follow Lissa not only through her day but through a variety of flashbacks complemented by short excerpts of her diary that gives us an insight at what is cluttering her mind.

The film is far from being a conventional character study, however. Director Jeremy Phillips (also writer of the movie) and cinematographer Tom Banks chose to shoot the movie through many different lenses and frame rates, all at once.

Each scene is edited as to include a variety of styles, sometimes to represent flashbacks (with scenes that look taken out of an old family movie) or accentuate a moment or an emotion (the movie becoming a slow succession of still pictures for a few seconds), and other times in what seems to be a purely random decision.

As a whole, this bold choice represents Lissa’s frantic mind, but it looks more like a pastiche of artsy films than an actual clever and essential idea.

The soundtrack is also very repetitive and overbearing. It works hand in hand with the fast cuts and various styles, but becomes just as annoying as them after a while.

The story at the heart of this movie is one that could – and should – have been emotionally gripping, but everything surrounding it prevents the viewer from feeling engaged with what is happening.

The script also lacks a strong narrative: by the end, I was surprised at what the movie chose to focus on, as it didn’t look to go that way at all.

This made 1/1 not only feel jarring visually, but also confusing on a more basic level of what was being told.

While I found 1/1 to fail most of what it tried to achieve, it still holds some merits. You can see the idea behind everything, what Phillips wanted to tell and how he wanted to convey it, and these were great ideas that could have made for a great, innovatively made drama if it had worked.

The performances of the actors are also very good, especially Lindsay Shaw and Judd Nelson.

This makes it a movie worth a look if you are searching for something out of the ordinary, whether successful at this or not, but otherwise you should probably look for something else.

You can read an alternate review of 1/1 here.

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