The days are long, but the years are short, as the old saying goes. That sentiment is at the heart of the 2021 Australian rom-com “Long Story Short,” which debuted on Netflix this past January. Written and directed by Hollywood multihyphenate Josh Lawson, the film tells the story of Teddy (Rafe Spall), a thirtysomething “serial procrastinator” who is hit with a strange curse the morning following his wedding in which every few minutes, his life is flashed forward an entire year, with Teddy having no recollection of any events that took place in the interim. The affliction quickly wreaks havoc on his marriage – and the rest of his life along with it.
Of coming up with the unique time-bending construct, Lawson told the Script website, “I think initially I thought, ‘Oh, I’ll do this thing where he wakes up and every morning he wakes up, it’ll be a different year.’ You know, like ‘Groundhog Day.’ And then, I felt like I’m wasting too much time. There’s too much downtime now in a day, I don’t want to let the foot off the accelerator . . . I need to make it feel for him, what life feels like for all of us, that it’s over in the blink of an eye.”
Though the premise might sound somewhat bleak, in truth, “Long Story Short” is joyful, funny and feel-good through and through – not to mention highly motivational! As Lawson expressed to Ain’t It Cool, “One of the only certainties of life is death, right? As we know this to be true, then what are you waiting for? If this is all to end, then use that as a fire under you. Why waste anything?” Indeed, by the time the end credits roll, the film will have you jumping out of your seat, raring to chase your every dream!
Oddly, reviews have not been kind, with Courtney Howard of Variety claiming the flick consists of little more than “puddle-deep platitudes that grace wall plaques found in HomeGoods stores” and Jane Freebury of Australia’s Canberra Times stating, “Good lead performances and the gift of scenic locations does not lift the screenplay from the underlying problem of its tricky premise nor its flat, strained humor.”
This writer wholeheartedly disagrees. “Long Story Short” makes for a delightful stream and is definitely worth a watch! But Freebury did get one thing right – the locations are incredibly scenic! Set and shot in Australia, the film makes beautiful use of the Sydney coastline. Of choosing to shoot in the area, Lawson explained to Ain’t It Cool, “I think Sydney is one of the most cinematic cities in the world. I would put it right up there with Paris, London, New York in terms of being one of the most beautiful cities to photograph. I think it was a bit of a love letter to what we call the Eastern Suburbs in Sydney.”
Shot in a scant 20 days, the production made use of such spots as Cohibar Cigar Lounge & Cocktail Bar, the site of the New Year’s Eve party where Teddy first meets future wife Leanne (Zahra Newman), The Market Canopy in The Entertainment Quarter, where Leanne shops for flowers mid-film, a Nielsen Park bluff, where Leanne and Teddy tie the knot, and Waverley Cemetery, a picturesque graveyard overlooking the ocean in the exclusive suburb of Bronte. Teddy and Leanne’s marital home, the movie’s central location, can also be found in Bronte.