A Life in August (2018) review

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A marriage is breaking down in Haston McLaren’s Scotland-set drama A Life in August. We take a look at the independent feature film after the jump.

Lisa & Harry

A heavily pregnant Lisa (Lisa Miller) and Harry (Haston McLaren) are a married couple going through a rough time. Lisa is spending much of her pregnancy alone as her husband has been spending more time than usual working on his aeroplane and drinking heavily. Nearly all communication has broken down between the two and Lisa soon enlists the help of a marriage counselor, much to the aghast of Harry.

Set in Scotland, A Life in August is an emotionally-honest film. There is no fairy tale ending, nor is there any comedic relief like Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughan’s The Break Up; this is as raw a movie as they come. A movie that looks at the darker sides of relationships crumbling whilst keeping the story realistic.

I enjoyed the performances of the two main actors, there was no overacting or scene-chewing. It felt like I had a secret peephole, looking into the lives of two very real people. If McLaren has decided to shoot the movie handheld, I could have believed I was watching a documentary or a very gritty British film at least. It’s of my opinion that the movie may have even been improved upon had it been shot this way.A Life in August Poster

A Life in August is a multi-layered film, that demands the audience to scratch away at its surface. McLaren doesn’t offer up any bells-and-whistles, but what he does bring to the table is a true independent character study, of which I applaud.

The film does suffer from a few technical issues though. I had some issues with the audio, with a few being accidental and some others actually being directorial decisions, and I sometimes felt the cinematography went a bit flat, with some bland lighting choices in parts. Though these issues didn’t fully take me out of the story and the performances and they can also be forgiven when you realise that Haston McLaren did nearly every crew member job on set. He was the director, writer, actor, producer, composer, sound editor, cinematographer, film editor, and visual effects artist. Hell, he probably did the catering and focus pulling too. It’s remarkable that he managed to complete all those tasks himself, though it may have not been the wisest choice. I’m absolutely certain that should Haston have found himself some capable bodies for each of those roles, the movie would have been elevated to a whole new level. Hopefully, he will do so for his next effort, of which I am looking forward to seeing.

A Life in August is a powerful and realistic drama and one that everyone involved in creating should be proud of. I enjoyed it.

3.5 / 5 stars     

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