A man receives a letter from his elderly neighbours in the heart-breaking short drama Dear John, I’m Sorry from British director Iain Cash.
Based on a true story, Dear John, I’m Sorry is a sweet, and yet, rather emotional 8-minute tale from Iain Cash. An elderly woman called Susan (Maggie Hall) posts a letter through her Neighbour’s letterbox. The Neighbour – the titular John (Phil Gwilliam) – reads the letter in his kitchen and we get to hear what it says thanks to a voice-over from the aforementioned Susan.
Thanks to a series of flashbacks playing whilst the letter is being read, we see that Susan’s husband, (also called John) played by John Naughton, is becoming sicker and sicker. He has been having falls due to dizzy spells, the weight is dropping off him and he is not long for the world. Neighbour John, who we see has been very kind and helpful to the elderly couple through the years, becomes increasingly concerned as he continues reading the letter. Susan explains that she doesn’t want her husband to be in any more pain and that she doesn’t want to carry on living without him. They have decided to end their own lives on their own terms. She even gives instructions on who to give her belongings to and details to their solicitor.
John then runs to his neighbours’ house and, showing how close he is to the couple, he lets himself into their home using his own key, only to find he is too late.
Dear John, I’m Sorry is a very well-made and polished short film. Cash is wise to keep the story going by using a plethora of scenes, shots, and a near-constantly moving camera. The shots never overstay their welcome. We get to see Old John and Sandra’s last days where they have their last meal, last dance, and where they both drink a concoction of drugs whilst happily staring into each other’s eyes. It really is heartbreaking to watch. Then, with the piano score placed over the top of the visuals, courtesy of Ian McLoughlin, it’s a one-two gut punch with the same force equivalent of that of a professional boxer.
When the film finished, I was both upset and yet happy that I had the opportunity to watch it. The three leads, though their dialogue only comes from Sandra’s voice over, are all very strong, and they manage to portray their characters well and believable.
I believe Dear John, I’m Sorry is currently on a festival run and has already picked up awards. I wouldn’t be surprised if it bags a few more on the way. If you manage to get the opportunity to watch it, I recommend you do so.