Despite what the lush scenery and cozy coves will have you believe, Everyone Writes Memoir is anything but a pleasant getaway. Darkness and hurt seethe from each corner, creeping into every word spoken between a couple who are just a few steps away from ending things for good. It’s a thorough deconstruction of a modern-day relationship with its own unique modern problems. And it’s this journey that filmmakers Mark Solter and Alexander Campbell use to examine the most powerful of human emotions.
Daniel (Anthony Crum) and Mia (Gloria Blake) play a dire game of tell-all in the midst of their strained relationship. With the table set with takeout over candlelight, the confessions begin rolling in as the two recant their past grievances with each other. The screenplay intelligently navigates a surprisingly relevant digital aspect, one that seems to be a prevailing stress upon couples in the 21st century. More than ever, artificial intelligence and technology have taken over all aspects of life, with Daniel being quite fervently engaged with them. The film doesn’t base the crux of its quandaries around this, but rather uses it as a distraction to further widen the gap between the pair.
Mia’s distrust of Daniel is at the forefront as she struggles to get through to him. No matter what either says, there’s this aching feeling deep down that even they know how it’s all supposed to end. The question is whether they are ready to take that leap. The beauty behind Everyone Writes Memoir is how it shows its hand without letting its audience in on the big reveal.
Blake and Crum absolutely knock it out of the park with their performances. The script demands much of them, both ferocity and sensitivity in delicate quantities, which they deliver at every turn. It’s difficult to watch two lovers drift irreparably apart in such a decisive manner, let alone do so with so much stored-up pain. The set design (done by Campbell) and cinematography (by Solter) are also as good as one can ask for. Symbolic at times even, with smart visual queues that make each scene all the more memorable. A haunting score by composer Norm Skipp takes its sweet time accentuating the emotional crescendo, but it’s more than worth the wait.
This is a purposefully crafted, slow-burner of a film that’s constantly playing with tension. It almost feels like its characters are going to war with each other, both sides pulling and tugging as hard as they can, with abbreviated pauses in the battle to recompose themselves. It’s an infuriating and frustrating realization of how far both parties have come from the beaten path of love. This pace might not appeal to everyone, and it would have served the film better to shorten a handful of lingering moments.
Everyone Writes Memoir is a messy, uncomfortable, and brutally honest dissection of love that’s ever-fading, where all those involved can do is sit and brace for the impact.