To say making a film is a big undertaking would be an understatement. To have one person wear ALL the hats – and wear them WELL – Writer, Director, Producer, Actor, Cinematographer, Editor, Original Music, Sound Editor and Visual Effects – is STUPENDOUS. That’s what Haston McLaren took on – and accomplished – to make his feature film A LIFE IN AUGUST.
BEAUTIFULLY filmed in Scotland with heartfelt performances, this film brings you into the story from the very first frame. The locations and cinematography are all superb – taking you on an unforgettable visual journey. Shot set ups and framing are stellar.
With her dancing career on hold, and her baby due in three months, Lisa’s (Lisa Miller) focus is on saving her marriage – while husband Harry (McLaren) seems more committed to his role of aviator than that of father. Lisa strives to make sense of Harry’s behavior, but is unaware of the secret trauma that he is keeping from her. As their relationship begins to disintegrate, Harry has his own way of dealing with the crisis.
What adds to the visual aspect of the storytelling by this filmmaker – is the minimal use of dialogue. The audience is part of the character’s private moments – private pain. The film explores grief and how each of us cope differently when confronted by death. It also explores how two people can disconnect at their most vulnerable time.
A LIFE IN AUGUST is McLaren’s Directorial debut. He financed the production himself so he could enjoy total freedom and be able to spend the time necessary to make the film that he wanted to make. It took him over 5 years to make this gem.
Certain scenes felt a bit long with the same emotional through line. The score felt overpowering to scenes at times. It would have been nice to see certain scenes with no score – to give a raw feel.
Overall, this filmmaker is top of his game coming out of the gate. This film has already garnered 23 wins and 3 nominations. Rest assured, you’ll be seeing much more of McLaren in the future.