OUTFEST LA 2022: The Pain of Endings in ‘Maybe Someday’

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Maybe Someday - But Why Tho

Endings can be really hard. Especially when we’re not willing to accept that they’re truly endings in the first place. Outfest LA Film Festival 2022 entry Maybe Someday by and starring Michelle Ehlen muses on just that. Jay (Ehlen) is freshly separated from her wife Lily (Jeneen Robinson) and moves in with her childhood best friend Jess (Shaela Cook), who she hasn’t seen in quite some time.

Just to start with, this movie is hilarious. I laughed out loud more watching Maybe Someday more than perhaps anything I’ve watched recently. Amidst all the difficulties Jay goes through throughout the movie, it’s refreshing that there are so many opportunities to laugh. And not to laugh at anybody’s expense either. The outlandish and brash Tommy (Chad Steers), who Jay meets as he’s giving terrible stand-up at a church, could well be the victim of plenty of cheap jokes. But instead, there’s just time after time where the two of them are simply living and breathing, which provides a great number of laughs just by being.

But just being is hard, especially for folks like Jay who are really in their own heads (relatable). The bulk of Jay’s troubles derives from her difficulty accepting things for what they are. Not that it’s her fault necessarily. She’s led on, and people around her can be oblivious and cruel. And her challenge with being fully cognizant of where she stands with other people isn’t because she’s ignorant; it’s just that she isn’t willing to accept what she perhaps already knows (relatable). This is so brilliantly portrayed by Ehlen as a number of argumentative scenes behold a level to them wherein the sharpness of Jay’s responses betray her.

Really, all of Ehlen’s acting, from the painfully awkward first encounter she endures with Jess’s daughter Ava (Caroline Lobbin) to her wonderful drag debut, show somebody who is suffering but also who is aware of that and who doesn’t want to be. Watching that journey is wonderful as it fits into a genre I’ve begun describing as coming-of-age as an adult. It’s the same type of journey of self-discovery you get in movies about teens and young adults but with somebody whose age is rarely shown as still malleable and deserving of opportunities for growth.

A great kudos to the actors who play the younger Jay (Eliza Blair) and Jess (Cameron Norman) as well. Their scenes are some of the highlights of the movie. Blair, in particular, plays such an excellent version of Jay, giving the same awkwardness as Ehlen and repeatedly making me cringe in the best way with how just unable to express herself she is. These scenes are woven in at all the right times and do more than I feel many movies with flashbacks do to give one cohesive picture of Jay as a person who struggles to express and Jess, who simply doesn’t see anything before at any given time.

Another brilliant aspect of Maybe Someday is its camerawork. It begins in this almost disembodied first-person view that immediately drowns you in awkwardness from an emotionless introduction to Jess. I don’t know whether it’s meant to put us on her bad side to begin with or if it’s just a factor of retrospect, but it’s an opening that immediately puts you in Jay’s shoes and gives you all of every feeling she’s going through at once. It’s quite like the intro to a bad first-person porno in both its reading and its delivery—you’re deeply uncomfortable but also maybe titillated? There’s only one way to find out!

There are a number of other well-shot moments, including some repetitive shower shots that glob on the melancholy. Most notably, there is an excellent edit early on as well that bridges moments from the present with the past that I wish has been not necessarily repeated but at least given to inspiration for other creative edits between flashbacks. The way it was done just added a lot of suspense and emotion to the moment that a more straightforward cut probably would not have.

Maybe Someday is not a complicated piece of work, but the emotions of letting go certainly are. It so well, through two entire sets of actors, depicts the challenge of accepting when things need to change and the joy of allowing them to.

Maybe Someday will have its LA premiere at Outfest 2022 on July 23rd.


Maybe Someday
  • 7/10
    Rating - 7/10
7/10

TL;DR

Maybe Someday is not a complicated piece of work, but the emotions of letting go certainly are. It so well, through two entire sets of actors, depicts the challenge of accepting when things need to change and the joy of allowing them to.

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