Short Film Mondays – The Lunch Date by Adam Davidson

The idea here is to find a new short film every week; give my opinion on it and perhaps any interesting facts, and then really welcome comments, interpretations and even recommendations. Unfortunately, they often don’t get as much attention as feature films do and so I thought, and hopefully you will too, that it would be interesting to highlight a different short film every week and over time we should get to see a decent range of films.
Anyway, without further ado…
The Lunch Date:

Beware of spoilers from here onwards:

I really enjoyed this short; the first time around it’s a humorous little film, but one which I think cleverly hides that my own prejudices are coming into play as I sit and judge the lead female character. The use of black and white, as well as the music choice, sets up our expectations of this finely dressed and out of date woman, only for us to uncomfortably find that we’ve sided with her in our judgements of the salad man. I think that this film excellently controls our expectations, and then pays these off with, not only a good twist, but one that affects the viewer and most likely prompts a replay, or at least thought for a while after the film has finished. For these reasons, and for its humour and ultimately endearing quality, I’ve wound up thinking pretty highly of this short, but do you agree with me?

There are a few questions which I don’t think are clearly answered, such as whether the first man actually even stole her purse in the first place. Did she perhaps just misplace it, forget to pick it up in her hurry or place it somewhere on her that she didn’t then check later? Did the woman learn anything from this experience? She certainly walks straight past the homeless again as she leaves for her train at the end. It’s arguably as much our prejudices as hers that drives the films story along. Tension exists in the salad ‘stealing’ scene which is entirely our own creation, when really there is little to indicate that the man is in fact homeless and/or violent. The placement of the homeless at the beginning sets up an expectation, and then our belief that he has stolen her food makes it an understandable and perhaps not such an unreasonable assumption. But still when it undercuts our understanding of what happened, it (I think) powerfully reveals our own prejudices, or at least it does if, like me, you didn’t spot the twist coming. Did any of you in fact actually work out?  Also on second viewing the coffee buying becomes an incredibly sweet scene, and I’m really a big fan of how simply the film turns what appears as a threatening encounter on our first watch, into one of humanity, kindness, and warmth on the second.

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6 comments

  1. Fantastic short. I just checked and this won the Oscar for Best Short, Live Action.

    Also, great analysis. I agree with pretty much everything. I have to say that I sort of predicted the twist, but at the same time, I “sided” with the woman and was sure that the man who may or may not be homeless (I love that this is never clear) actually stole her salad. I don’t think the issue with the purse is really important, though. The coffee scene is really sweet, I also agree on that.

    1. I’m glad that you liked it! I knew that it had won something but wasn’t aware that it was an Oscar, thanks for letting me know 🙂
      Yeah the ambiguity of the salad man is great! I guess overall the purse’s status isn’t that important, I just think that it is interesting that there’s the possibility that it wasn’t stolen and how that would impact upon the film if it was clear one way or another.

  2. Christian Bone · · Reply

    Really interesting review and a great film choice. The point about the music chosen and the use of black and white film was cool, I hadn’t thought of that.
    Looking forward to next week!

    1. Great, glad you liked it. Yeah I think it’s a really clever way of telling us about a character without any dialogue having to be used etc.
      Thanks for stopping by!

    1. 😀 I’m glad you thought so!

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