November 1st is a short film that takes the form of a road trip with a mother, Bonnie (Lindsay Duncan) and her daughter, Caroline (Sophia Myles) as they travel to witness the execution of the man that murdered Bonnie’s son.
Obviously, tensions are fraught, Bonnie isn’t exactly easy to get along with and Caroline is feeling the onslaught of verbal abuse from her mother. Although, the audience gets the feeling that despite their destination, this is just another day. Duncan transforms into yet another unrecognisable role and Bonnie’s characterisation feels very real along with a script that never holds back, and direction that makes the audience feel like they are on the road trip with them.
Whether they want to be there or not. Myles also plays the part of the put upon and unappreciated daughter well, with the unspoken frustration clear on her face as she endures her mother’s vitriolic personality and plays well off of Duncan making their relationship all the more believable.
Watching these close family members on what is quite possibly the hardest day of their lives is clearly a very uncomfortable thing to witness, and as the heat comes to a boiling point the audience perhaps can relate to their own family members with whom they have left things unsaid.
However, the audience knows that things may never be resolved, so despite the feelings of relief as Bonnie and Caroline air their grievances, the short film only ever feels like a slice of their lives that the audience are witnessing. No matter how much the audience may want them to resolve their issues.
Despite all the friction between mother and daughter, it’s thanks to the script and Duncan’s performance that Bonnie is able to come across as a sympathetic character at all, but Duncan manages to peel back a few layers which may explain years of a hardening soul. The fact that the story is never really given a satisfactory conclusion may frustrate some audience members, but it only adds to the realism of the situation, reminding the audience that not everything gets wrapped up in a neat little bow.
Because for Bonnie and Caroline, despite the closure that November 1st may bring, it will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
We hope you're enjoying BRWC. You should check us out on our social channels, subscribe to our newsletter, and tell your friends. BRWC is short for battleroyalewithcheese.