REVIEW: Late Afternoon [2018]

Score: 9/10 | ★ ★ ★ ½

Rating: NR | Runtime: 10 minutes | Release Date: 2018 (Ireland)
Studio: Cartoon Saloon
Director(s): Louise Bagnall
Writer(s): Louise Bagnall

“I was never good at keeping time”

Good luck keeping a dry eye during Louise Bagnall‘s heartfelt look at an elderly woman suffering from an Alzheimer’s-like disease. Even when the endgame is obvious, you can’t stop the emotions from rising within. I’d argue that knowing what’s coming before it does only makes the result more potent because you can anticipate the act but not the method. And with swirls of color, morphing shapes, and characters spanning time before making way for others, the journey becomes an unpredictable ride through the recesses of a fractured mind pulled towards clarity by the most innocuous triggers imaginable. It starts with a biscuit dropped in tea and continues with books, motions, sounds, and mirrored images folding in on themselves to shine a light on Emily’s (Fionnula Flanagan) fading truth.

To say more would ruin the carefully measured rhythms within Late Afternoon that Bagnall creates. Just know that it’s a swift progression from Emily’s distant past to the present with an unwitting catalyst in the form of her nurse Kate’s (Niamh Moyles) constant movements around the house and objects shared. The way the surface of tea shifts to become an orb of light or reflections on the wall into train windows will have you fully engaged in this roller coaster ride of disjointed vignettes that become the puzzle pieces of our lives. And even though we know the ending won’t last, its sharp cut to black ensures we understand that this Emily right now will live forever regardless of whether anyone is lucky enough to see her again.

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