30 June 2019 | kevinfm2013
Well Water is deceptively simple. For its entire runtime, it follows various conversations between Cora (Katraya Wier) and Ben (Marcus McDermott). Playing like a series of vignettes, the individual scenes are brief and the discussions are relatively eclectic. They talk about everything and nothing, jumping between tender moments, fights, casual conversations, and random tangents that make up the random chats one has with a true friend. Dating and planning their future together, the pair are on the cusp of adulthood and staring down the barrel of the rest of their lives. What will do they next? Where will they be? In all this dreaming, one can see them avoiding the discussion and implication of: what does this mean for them?
It is readily apparent how different the two are with Cora hoping to go to New York City for school while Ben is content to stay in his small-town, work a job until retirement, and have a nice, quaint life. The fact these are two divergent paths is obvious to both, yet they talk around the subject. As with many doomed young romances, they desperately try to exact some measure of control as they try to mold one another into who they want them to be. Cora wants to go to New York City, but Ben tries to convince her to stay. Ben wants to wait to have sex, but Cora tries to convince him to just give into the temptation. The growing tensions leads to fights over absolutely nothing, arguing over what is on the radio, how to stack dishes, or the playful tone the other adopts. The love they had fostered is still there, but the fraying at the edges is noticeably starting to weaken the bonds. Katraya Wier and Marcus McDermott are impressive in capturing the subtlety and nuance of this emotion, showing two young adults who genuinely love one another but are realizing there may be a limit to this relationship.
There is an understated beauty to watch this romance unfold. Well Water is littered with relatable content and discussions, whether the heavy or the inane. One can find themselves laughing along as they reference something silly from Deadline or going through the "rants" that one unleashes on a friend about something in the world they find annoying. As they discuss the future with a particular uncertainty, it is not hard to see oneself in their fears over fitting into the adult world. It is perhaps this honesty and this rawness that helps Well Water to make such an impact. It sneaks up on the viewer, stringing together this random assortment of scenes that add up to mean so much. One can see it clearly in the end as Cora declares to Ben that she, "loves him so much," snuggling under his arm and holding him tight. The ticking clock of this relationship - one that will demand difficult conversations and decisions in the future - is ever-present as she openly wishes that, "time would stand still." It is easy to see her hopes that, perhaps if she holds him tight enough or long enough, things will change and their paths will converge in a way that satisfy both. Yet, it time will not stand still and their increasingly fractured relationship will likely not be forever, hitting a universal and understandable pain over the way in which adulthood alters relationships of all kinds.
Though it may be a bit rough around the edges due to technical limitations, Well Water is a promising short film for writer/director Sharisse Zeroonian. It hints at her potential, while being an enrapturing film in its own right. It easily touches on universal feelings, encapsulating the awkward transition from youth to adulthood and its impact on a romantic relationship. Two strong lead performances lend it believability and authenticity, leading to a subtly emotional experience.