Learning the ropes of film making presents challenges which can only be mastered with further experience in perfecting it. Jahi Trotter’s short film Acceptance is nearly halfway there. It isn’t quite up to the standards of the short films Cold Snap or Father and Daughter. I had really hoped for it to get up to those levels but it just didn’t.
Three students are subjected to a therapy session with Dr. Rossenburg (such a fitting name). In these different sessions they speak about issues which have been bothering them. Student one struggles with the concept of acceptance. Student two dreams of a world where everybody likes each other, growing increasingly frustrated at groups who pull people down when they try to express themselves. Student three has an outward appearance of having it all “but sometimes everything feels fake!”
Not everything happens within the walls of Dr Rosseburg’s office. Several intercuts see each character within and on a campus environment, living out their life. Events or situations which frustrate them are clear as day. It is no surprise they are frustrated by human nature. They do raise some important issues which sound great in theory but fail in practice.
A fantastic acting performance and amateur directing flair is spoiled by a cliché ridden script so full of absurd lines people would never use so freely. I particularly enjoyed Quinton Cockrell. He makes Dr Rosenburg look like such an ineffective shrink who seems unable to do much more than stare back blankly and asking questions which lead to further frustration. Each student actor does brilliantly as well to bring out the emotional discontent inside their characters. Even when given some flimsy dialogue. I also enjoyed the idea of intertwining stories and each character overlapping each others life.
Acceptance trips over in a few areas. The loose language didn’t add anything significant, often just trying to add effect where it wasn’t needed. Its music score added more awkwardness above anything else. Every time it came on a sense of “something weird’s going to happen” came up. It didn’t fit in well with the mood of the moment. If anything it would have been better to let the strong acting performances carry the scene.
With some small adjustment Acceptance could have been something great. However the shortcomings must be taken into account. It is not a pass mark. Trotter will improve with further experience. With a knack for bringing out the best in his actors and providing challenging themes I’m expecting a level up in his next film. Is it too clichéd to say “I can’t wait!”?