Contrary to the title, and it being set in Liverpool, with Liverpudlian actors, Jumpers For Goalposts is not actually about football (soccer to our friends over the pond), but rather a reference to reminiscing, of things that could have been.
The opening of writer and director Thomas Elliott Griffiths’ (“The Fight (Short)”, “Captive (Short)”) Jumpers For Goalposts lingers on some cracked, imperfect pavement as Chris, Michael Newstead (“Kate & Jake”), walks up to the house he’s looking for.
A perfect visual metaphor for Chris himself, an ex-con who has very recently been given some life-changing news. He decides that now should be the time to get back in touch with his estranged son Danny, Luca Donnelly (“Dead Boys (Short)”, “The Fight (Short)”).
Initially Danny is somewhat reluctant to see his father, slamming the door in his face, but eventually concedes and the pair go for a walk in the local park.
Whilst there Danny receives some life-changing news himself, of a very different kind to Chris’s. The pair take a seat on a bench, watching a man and his young son play football, talking about parenthood, Chris trying to explain why he did what he did: to be able to provide for Danny, to not have to live hand-to-mouth.
Danny’s response is simple; he didn’t want or need nice clothes, he wanted a father, his father, to take him to football practice, teach him to tie his shoelaces, but he wasn’t there. And now, ten years later, he turns up on his doorstep out of the blue.
I was particularly taken with the subtle changes Griffiths introduces throughout. When we see Chris at the start, the camera is shaky, sometimes slightly out of focus, close-up. But as Danny begins to come round, as Chris begins to repent, things smooth out, glide and flow.
Griffiths packs a lot into the short runtime, around 15 minutes, though it never feels rushed, on the contrary. Jumpers For Goalposts is a nicely paced drama that’s well shot and definitely the sort of thing you could see being expanded and put out as a series on TV and Griffiths continues to impress with his short movies.