Sometimes We Just Need A Push
Meet Roy, David Bradley (“After Life (TV)”, “ Jolt “), as he sits quietly in his armchair, the yellow pages (ask your parents) open in front of him, randomly dialling numbers and using the line, “I think I had a missed call from this number”, before trying to engage the person in conversation.
Mostly, this doesn’t go well, resulting in him being left with a dial tone. He potters about his small home, eating microwave meals for one and looking longingly at the empty side of his bed, which he never sleeps on.
Then one day, much to his surprise, a woman called Cara, Rachel Shenton (“ The Colour Room “, “Hollyoaks (TV)”), answers the phone and is more than happy to talk to him.
The conversation is like something from the British sitcom Open All Hours, both parties talking at cross-purposes but the conversation managing to flow. She’s asking if it’s big and hard, and he thinks she’s talking about his garden and maintaining it.
Then she asks if he’s touching himself, because she is and suddenly he realises who he’s called. He, still very politely, says he’s sorry, but he’s not looking for that thank you, he just wanted a chat. Then Cara says that’s fine, actually, it would be quite nice not to have to talk about you-know-what for five minutes.
And so we see this strange telephone relationship blossom: next thing Roy is telling Cara about the mad bin collections and how he might just write to his MP, they play Battleships, he dictates the letter to his MP — which is over before it begins, she teaches him how to make Shepherds Pie.
It’s lovely, Roy becomes more active, happy, smiling, he even nods along when she plays him some dance music, he, in return, plays her some classical music, she asks where the beat is.
Things are going swimmingly until Cara begins asking him if he wouldn’t prefer to go on a date, talk to someone face-to-face. Roy stutters and stammers and pretends someone is at the door. Eventually though, she talks him round and he does go on a date, with Valiere.
When Roy returns, late at night it has to be said, he immediately calls the number but Jasmine answers. He asks to speak to Cara but is told she’s gone, moved on, she did say she had itchy feet.
Roy seems to crumble; he goes back to his microwave meals for one, pottering around the house and we pick him up asleep, with the yellow pages open on his lap, the phone by his side. Then the phone rings.
Roy is written and directed by newcomers Tom Berkeley and Ross White and is long listed for a 2022 BAFTA and you can totally see why. Roy is a beautiful short film, superbly acted by the wonderful David Bradley who excels as the titular Roy.
This is a movie for now, when we’re all stuck at home, feeling lonely and not all of us have a someone to help get us through it but it shows the joy it can bring to someone’s life to simply have a conversation with them, engage them, ask them how they are, listen to them.
I loved it and I hope the people at Bafta do too.
Originally published at https://www.ocmoviereviews.com.