At just 87 minutes long, it follows Cassie and Matthew as they head towards a divorce, when they come upon a reminder wrapped in a letter they wrote to each other as young lovers. It contains instructions for a potential future separation, that encourages them to create meaningful experiences before they go their separate ways, so they can part ways with love and not bitterness. At first Matthew does not want to comply with one more delay before the divorce can go through, but eventually agrees to do the first thing only, on what turns out to be a list of things to do.
Very much character-driven, the film slowly unpacks the full depth of what brought them (Cassie and Matthew) to the current situation they now find themselves in, and the wounds cut deep. Over four days filled with emotions, regrets and lingering feelings, this couple grapples with their past, as they follow the instructions they left themselves. Instructions that have the power to bring up old memories of how they used to be, drawing them back together.
There's nowhere for the actors to hide as they are the primary focus put under the microscope, the camera zooming in on their every expression as they unpack their emotions. Both give deeply felt performances, on the ups and downs of marriages, Laura Bayston successfully displays a lot of nervous energy going on internally, coupled with a lot of lip mincing and biting action. Spellman provides the warmth as he continues to hover like a protective nice guy. A lot of the situations within the marriage are alluded to, rather than shown. An AA (alcoholics anonymous) meeting scene popping up out of the blue felt a little jarring, but it allowed supporting actor Peter Barett as Sean a down and out alcoholic, to shine. He had great presence and gave a riveting performance. This marriage unfolding on screen was definitely interesting and a worthwhile watch, even if at times the drama feels a little bit overworked. Be sure to check out the British Film Fest website for more British gems to watch at the festival.