In the most recent short by The Clyde Brothers, what promises to offer an insightful look into the lives of infertile couples struggling to deal with and combat their incapability, turns into a disappointing piece of wishful thinking which misses the mark completely.
The biggest question for most imminent parents-to-be is the decision of whether to have a baby. But the question growing question in our times, and the question pursued by directors The Clyde Brothers, is how to have a baby. It’s a delicate issue, no doubt, but equally an important one. Recent film and TV shows like Up, Children of Men and How I Met Your Mother have touched on infertility, but it goes without saying that it’s a wildly ignored issue among entertainment mediums. The challenges faced by sterile and infertile couples is something covered in depth in If I Could Tell You, the new short film by The Clyde Brothers. This is explored not only in coming to terms with the issue, but the options that make themselves known after infertility rears its ugly head.
It begins after the central character Abby reveals she has “officially stopped trying”, which apparently doesn’t include some pretty untraditional options for conception, and travels to a self-help convention where she is determined to make the most of her coinciding ovulation period with the help of a black-market sperm donor. And you can probably guess from the film’s title that these antics are unbeknownst to Abby’s husband – drama.
Whilst If I could Tell You starts out promising, brandishing believable, impressive performances from Avery Clyde (Abby) and former Backstreet Boy Kevin Richardson, and an auspicious script made up of some great titbits of dialogue (often a rarity for short films), the promise fades into a tedious, fantastical oblivion where the apparent moral is that you can ‘choose’ motherhood despite being unable to conceive. Seems a tad like a thin piece of wishful thinking to me.
Losing the power it collated in the first ten minutes in the second half of the film, it loses all credibility simultaneously. It just doesn’t allow any of it to be taken seriously, which is a shame as it could have easily been an incredibly powerful film with the capacity to be one of the more memorable shorts of recent years. Instead it comes across as idealistic, shallow and rushed, especially in terms of script.
In terms of performances and cinematography, it’s nothing special but then again, it’s difficult to show prowess in a short, especially when themes are the film’s guiding voice. If I Could Tell You boasts some decent cinematography skills, and some even better in the editing department, and it’s these, along with the central characters, that act as the film’s saving grace. Just about.
If I Could Tell You results in an unexplained, frustrating character complex, but it’s one which could easily be explored in depth and healed in a feature film, which would also enable it to explore some of the secondary characters’ lives and backstories. It might, just maybe could, even transform the film’s thin plot arc into something resembling the interest it originally promises.
If I Could Tell You, directed by Benjamin Clyde and Robert E. Clyde, was selected for L.A.’s HollyShorts Film Festival’s TV category.