Review: Long Story Short (2021)25 February 2021
Long Story Short is a romantic comedy that depicts the consequences of always putting yourself first and forgetting about the most important people in your life. Director Josh Lawson uses Sydney’s picturesque beach side as a backdrop to tell the story of how Teddy (Rafe Spall) and Leanne’s (Zahra Newman) accidental New Year’s kiss develops into a romance with its ups and downs. Things get a bit more complicated when Teddy wakes up to discover that after a few moments, he jumps forward in time to the next year of his life. Josh Lawson delivers a message about being attentive to your loved ones and being present in their lives without being too ham-fisted or cheesy. Teddy is a funny yet flawed character and his fatal flaw is not an unfamiliar thing to many. The time skips and the misunderstandings that arise from them take their toll on the couple and I found myself empathising strongly with his struggle to be who he wants to be. It is easy to criticise him for his single-minded determination to do what he believes in but it is this quality, paired with his quick wit that make Teddy such a likeable main character.
Teddy and Leanne’s Sydney beachside house is so stylish and beautiful. How I wished I could afford to live in their multimillion-dollar beach front property. When the film ended my friend Stephanie and I gushed about how enviable the home furnishings were, the huge windows and the unique architecture. I heard the women behind us doing the same so there is definitely interior design inspiration in this film. I also loved the Great Dane puppy that we get to see grow up into an adult Great Dane. I am generally not a fan of children but I found myself warming up to Teddy and Leanne’s daughter Tallulah because her bright and innocent presence helps Teddy realise something important.
Time travel is a key element to this film and it is quite satisfying to see characters mature both physically and emotionally. The drawback of the many time skips is that we don’t get to see many of the details that lead to Teddy and Leanne falling in love . We get the meet cute and snippets of each year’s anniversary and from that you can piece together the deeper issues underlying the relationship. The problem with this device is that Teddy and Leanne’s relationship doesn’t seem very substantial and a believable romance is the crux of the genre. If we had seen more of Teddy and Leanne before they’d gotten married then that could help convince seasoned romcom fans that they are indeed a couple.
Sam (Ronny Chieng) is Teddy’s best friend and he appears several times to help figure out the mess of Teddy’s life. His deadpan humour is indeed humorous and I wish he had more screen time. Some could say that his fate is a bit cheesy but it is humbling to be reminded that everyone has things going on in their lives too.
Overall, Long Story Short is a solid film and I had a good time watching it. I wouldn’t quite call it a romantic comedy because it doesn’t delve into the minutiae of a relationship in a way that would convince you the two leads are indeed in love. I would watch it again to get some home decorating ideas, though.