Melancholy Relationship Indie Spotlights St. Louis
DIRECTED BY NATE MYERS/2021
Clearly inspired by Richard Linklater’s “Before” trilogy of contained talk-centric relationship dramas, the new film After We’re Over goes a step further. Written and directed by Nate Myers, the low-budget indie endeavor stars Adrienne Rose White and Chris Mollica as former couple, Zelzah and Sazerac.
When Sazerac unexpectedly returns to visit Zelzah in her hometown of St. Louis, their ensuing reunion gives way to an intermittent array of memories of their better times together. The film’s attempts to weave past and present are mostly successful, though a quick visual shorthand (say, a specific color palate or “film look”) to differentiate “now” from “then” might’ve helped. The film wields an overarching melancholic tone, elevated, and perpetuated with excellent performances by the leads and some very impressive lighting.
After We’re Over, I’m told, is a “love letter to St. Louis”, an aspect of the film that can’t be debated. Zelzah and Sazerac’s relationship and their reunion is, among other things, a tapestry of many of the Gateway City’s known places and landmarks. Footage of Black Lives Matter protests is glimpsed in the opening titles, tying in with Zelzah’s passion for social justice.
At one point, she subjects Sazerac (and the viewers) to a rant listing all the reasons why St. Louis is just so great. While that moment lands awkwardly, After We’re Over earnestly does right by St. Louis, having actually filmed much of it there. Which is unlike the new Tom Hanks science fiction film Finch, which despite a major budget, doesn’t even attempt to resemble it’s stated initial location of St. Louis. (The city, even in that film’s post-apocalyptic state, would remain distinguishable). Many known sights are seen amid the uncomfortable banter and memories of the central couple, which locals will no doubt enjoy pointing out.
While not exactly a “good time at the movies”, After We’re Over gets at the push and pull of contemporary relationships and their frequent crossroads of independence and codependence. It does a commendable job in its mature exploration of why strong relationships sometimes can’t last, and whether or not they’re worth revisiting after they’re over.
AFTER WE’RE OVER will premiere at the St. Louis International Film Festival on November 13, 2021.