Scenes From A Breakup (2018) Review
Struggling to pursue their passion and keep relationships, Scenes from a Breakup shows how life can change people for better or worse.
Scenes from a Breakup is a New York City apartment drama that follows two struggling filmmakers as they navigate through life and breakups. It’s the second feature film from Carlos Cardona and is shot almost exclusively in monochromatic with occasional cuts of vintage-looking home video footage.
Centred around two filmmakers - Clark, played by Thedore Copeland, and Andrew, played by Jonathon Castro - the film shows the characters' individual struggles, as Clark refuses to work a typical nine-to-five job and is only satisfied with film work, while Andrew has no problem grifting to work in a restaurant for money. It’s a major cause of conflict between the two as Clark sees Andrew as a sellout, and Andrew sees Clark as entitled.
Throughout Scenes from a Breakup, Andrew goes through three different relationships and shows how they each go wrong. The film is split up in chapters, but the main focus is a break-up with Holly, played by Andrea Murillo. It has a non-linear narrative that tells the story in different sections, but the progression of Andrew becoming more selfish in the relationship is clear to see.
With minimal music and general ambient sounds, the dialogue and acting is crucial in Scenes from a Breakup. The first time we see Castro's character he is a redeeming character who is struggling to pursue his passion film project while working in a thankless job. Throughout the film and across the time jumps, it’s shown that he is selfish and neglects everything but himself. It’s interesting to see the progression of his character and how he develops by the end of the film.
While it can be tough to watch, it’ll leave you reflecting on your own passions
Copeland’s performance as Clark originally comes off as a bit pretentious. He seems entitled and as though he's completely living in his own privileged bubble. Just like Castro’s character, he is redeemed throughout the film as we see how he becomes frustrated and angry throughout. When he is shown in the past, he is more caring and friendly towards people.
The most heartbreaking performance comes from Murillo as she plays a struggling actress stuck in a terrible relationship. Andrew constantly breaks his promises and just continues to let her down, while she is grappling with her own job and career prospects. We’re shown the highs and lows, before the ultimate breakdown of the relationship. It’s genuinely tragic to watch her slowly lose feelings in the relationship and leave. Thankfully, while it may not be a truly happy ending, the characters gain perspective and closure. The clear growth and development is fascinating to watch.
Scenes from a Breakup will not fill you with happy feelings; you’ll leave feeling melancholic. The minimalist style in this film works perfectly, as it makes you focus on the people from the flashy camera work. While it can be tough to watch, it’ll leave you reflecting on your own passions and feeling a little inspired by the creatives in the film.
Available to watch on Amazon Prime.