After an evening out, Alison (Jessica Rose) and Jason (Kristopher Turner) are heading back to their home. Alison has had too much to drink and has left Jason to deal with her unusual behaviour. First, she urinates in the street like it was part of a dare, then Jason is forced to carry her into their house. Once they reach the bedroom, Alison is suddenly awake, and now Jason has to deal with her sudden hunger and eventual dash to the bathroom to be sick. As they lay in bed for the evening, Jason begins to wonder if this is all worth the trouble.
Alison is a simple glimpse into one moment of the relationship between Jason and Alison, which doesn’t let viewers gather much information that they can use to find their way through this dilemma that Jason faces. Not only does this create a fascinating look at the ups and downs of relationships, but it also challenges viewers on the way that we judge the things that we see. We’re not really aware if this is an ongoing thing that Jason must deal with, so figuring out if his struggle with the situation is valid isn’t something we can easily come to a conclusion on. If we knew this was consistent behaviour from Alison, perhaps we would immediately understand how Jason feels. Instead, we’re forced to make judgements based on one interaction.
While that may seem rather easy at first, as it looks like Jason is certainly the more mature and dependable person in the relationship, it’s something that becomes blurry once morning arrives. Now we’re as conflicted as Jason is as we’re forced to question our initial thoughts about each person. This is greatly impacted by the performances from Rose and Turner. Alison may seem childish and a bit hard to deal with, but it’s nothing that many of us haven’t gone through before. She’s a handful on that evening, but it’s never something that goes overboard into obnoxious territory. Rose keeps it all contained so that Alison is never a character we suddenly can’t stand. Turner gets the bulk of the little moments though, as he has to portray a variety of subtle emotions simply by the way he looks at Alison.
Rose also happens to be the writer of Alison, showing a great talent at building characters who are incredibly real. While it’s certainly Rose and Turner’s job to bring those characters to life, it’s Rose’s dialogue that keeps them grounded in a world that is uncomfortable in its realism. The direction, by David Lester, keeps the characters front and centre, and in the shot together for almost the entire short. By eliminating a number of edits and simply allowing the camera to maintain its focus on Alison and Jason, we can really see the mental journey that Jason takes over the course of the evening.
Simply put, Alison is a wonderful short about a subject that we do often see portrayed in films, but presented here in a much more subtle, touching, and realistic way. Jason’s thoughts on his relationship with Alison aren’t black or white in the way we may be used to seeing. It’s a struggle, and whether it’s truly worth it or not is something that we can see Jason will continue to deal with in the future until he finally reaches a conclusion. It’s something we all have to deal with in a relationship as we decide whether the faults of the person we love are too much to bear.
You can watch Alison online right now at the National Screen Institute website, and I would recommend giving it a look. It’s interesting to wonder where we would personally come out at the end of an evening like Jason and Alison have.