Director Daniel Brown conducts his short drama much in the vein of Scorsese’s underrated gem “After Hours” in which he uses the exploits of a midnight stroll through the city experiencing various exploits with wackos and locals as a form of our character exploring something about themselves. Alison Strycharz gives a very somber and heartfelt performance as the lovelorn Emily, a young girl whose own undoing may be her inability to take a hint and as such becomes a pariah in her own relationship. Confronting her boyfriend one night after an attempt to spend time with him, Emily moves out on her own in to a new city and finds herself incapable of moving on with her life. There, she does anything to pass the time and wallowing in her own memories with him that may all just be lies she told herself to sleep easily at night.
When she learns her boyfriend Jim is allegedly sick, she takes it upon herself to bring him some supplies, but her own trepidation to use the subway keeps her firmly planted in her new neighborhood. While mulling over the complications of her relationship she happens upon a slew of interesting and surreal characters, all of whom surely enough help her realize something about her solid “relationship” that she’s just not willing to admit to herself. With an array of talented performers, Emily walks through the darkness of this deserted neighborhood discussing the intricacies of her intimacy with her despondent boyfriend.
With them, she must sit and listen to individuals all of whom meet her for five minutes and know how utterly clueless she is and will continue to be if she doesn’t wake up soon. Brown directs the film with a sharp low key grittiness and desertion that paints this city in which Emily resides as hopeless and utterly vast as a brilliant representation of the character whose own emotions for her boyfriend and her approach toward her problems will lead her down a path to nowhere if she doesn’t find her way home and to the realization that it’s time to move on with her life and give him up once and for all.
The whole set piece in which she travails acts as an interesting metaphor for her journey in to awakenings, and is a masterful subtle bit of allegory that Brown sells with skill. Relying on performances to convey the complex story and themes, “Emily in the A.M.” is a nice short coming of age relationship drama that really does depict a character on the verge of destruction meeting with fate and being guided to the light by the time the sun comes up. A sad and somewhat tragic short drama, “Emily in the A.M.” is the ultimate coming of age drama that forces its character to come to grips with their own life and re-assess their relationships that they hold dear with a narrative very much in the vein of “After Hours.” I enjoyed what it had to say in the end.