“I’ve found the balance.”
Sending you over the edge, love can bring you to the brink of your sanity as you long for the affection and closeness that comes with having a partner. Love can make you crazy. But for Emily and Nickie, their lives are already a bit complicated, making their chance meeting an intense mergence of two strong forces.
Joey Klein’s The Other Half delicately tells the story of their love affair. Carefully depicting the trials and tribulations that exist as a bipolar woman and a self destructed man, stricken who grief, fall for one another.
A classic slow burn, Klein utilizes the talents of real life couple Tatiana Maslany and Tom Cullen, allowing viewers a vivid look into the hardships of their complex lives. The result is astounding. Stripped away is the glamour of love, exposing a raw and authentic view that allows you to fully connect with the ups and downs of their dramatic (and often aggressive) relationship.
Maslany, best known for her work on BBC America’s Orphan Black, allows us a candid look at mental illness, when tangled with the heart. Through this we get a full dissection of the struggles it provides and the fear that encompasses those who live with it. Maslany embodies Emily with seeming ease, giving us a flawed character that internally yearns for your respect and acceptance, while wearing a hard, independent, self-sufficient outer shell.
Her interactions with Nickie (Cullen) are heartfelt and pure as she keeps herself guarded in an attempt to be the woman he so desperately wants and needs. Her demeanor is intentional, though she bears a deep insecurity that personifies your ability to relate. Neither of them wish for an abundant life - they want something small, simple and ordinary.
A pair of time jumps allow us to witness a boarder space of time, opening up their courtship even further as each begins to dig deep into the other’s psyche. Their dialogue is genuine, their approach to each situation realistic, and most of all their hardships are never sacrificed for the sake of keeping the story soft.
Klein does a brilliant job at showing the peaks and valleys that come with a strained relationship, incorporating violence, heartache and the darkness of the unknown. Though simple in nature (the film was shot in a mere sixteen days), it steps outside of the box, pushing away mainstream boundaries and giving us all a heartfelt voyage - one whose ending isn’t tied up with a bow. But then again, that’s the way life is, unpredictable and ever changing.